Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Statue of Liberty

I love America. Freedom. God. Liberty. People laugh because my house is bathed in red, white and blue with stars everywhere. It goes beyond a fun decorating scheme... it's rooted deep in my heart.

Visiting the Statue of Liberty was one of those experiences where you can't believe you're actually there, actually doing it. It was like an out-of-body thing, except I could see and hear and feel. (Especially the wind. I could really feel the wind. Darn wind.)

We walked around the grounds a bit first, taking a few pictures at the front.



From the shore it doesn't look that big, dwarfed by the massive buildings of Manhattan. But as the ferry brought us closer the awe grew deep in my gut. It's really real. And it's big. And it's amazing.

We purchased Monument passes online before we went, so we #1. didn't have to wait in a long line to board the ferry, and #2. got to go inside the base of the statue. (That was something awesome God did. We were originally going to buy the reserved passes for Tuesday, went to check the date before clicking confirm, and when we tried a few minutes later they were sold out. So we bought them for Wednesday. Tuesday it rained all day and was cloudy, with limited visibility. God knew that would happen! How glad we were to have our passes for Wednesday!) When she was first built visitors could go all the way up into the torch, come out and walk around. In the 1920's they limited access to only her crown. She was fully refurbished in the 1980's, but even with that they began limiting crown access in 1998 due to deterioration from foot traffic. After September 11th, all access to the statue herself was stopped. We were thankful to go up into the pedestal, though, and walk through the museum that chronicles her history. (You can only do that with the Monument pass.)



The original torch.



A full scale replica of her face. I gave her a nice kiss.



Nate picked her nose.

I also discovered proof she may actually be a cross-dresser. Look at the nuts we found under her skirt...





Then we looked up her dress. =^) Although you can no longer access the crown via these stairs, they installed a plexi-glass ceiling so you can see the incredible spiral staircase that climbs up the statue's middle. This frame work was designed by the same man who built the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. They were originally going to fill the statue with sand, but that engineer passed away. His work was handed off to Eiffel, who knew there was a better way.

Americans didn't think it would hold at first, so to prove it Eiffel built the entire thing in France. After showing his design superior, they disassembled it and brought it to America! The marble base she sits on was built entirely by private funding because the early American government couldn't afford it.

The man who designed the statue herself, Frederic Bartholdi, had come to America years earlier to scope out a suitable spot for her to stand. This island, formerly a point of defense for early American troops, was perfect to raise the statue as a welcoming beacon. The five point star the statue sits upon was originally an army fort.



This was taken from the top point on her pedestal looking back at the Manhattan skyline. One of the things that struck us while on the island was the wonder of what visitors saw on 9/11. Some would have watched everything while standing in this same spot. (I'll talk more about that in another post.)

The sheer feelings of joy for me in experiencing one of our nation's greatest monuments are truly beyond full description. She is great. And she is beautiful. And she stands as a symbol of freedom and hope. I love the fact that the broken chains on her feet are only visible from above (helicopter rides are available for a small fortune).

So often the broken chains in our lives are only visible when we have indeed risen above them.

“The New Colossus”
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!"” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


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6 Comments:

MooBeeMa said...

Fabulous photos! I feel like I was there! And yes, I totally live exactly where your Brother-in-law is moving. You can reach me at partalpaca@gmail.com if you want to chat. What a small world!

Brandi said...

It is so wonderful hearing about your experience and your photo's are beautiful and funny. (you found nuts under her dress....LOL)

I remember going to see her when I was a kid...and going up to the crown...we went back 2 years ago and could only go as far as you went...We took pictures of the manhattan sky line and compared them to my mothers pictures from 10+ years ago...
It was a sad feeling.

Brandi said...

I LOVE the green you choose for your background...it fits so nicely with this post.

Thany said...

Beautifully written and very moving post-I agree with Brandi, I feel like I was there!

Keep them coming, I am eating up all the New York posts!!

MomOfDudes said...

I have enjoyed reading your New York blogs. It is one of my life goals to go there and now I know it is a definite "to do"!!!

Keep em coming
Troy

*emmy said...

This blog gave me chils. She is more then a statue of metal, she stands for human freedom, justice,and is a symbol of peace. May God never take his hand off this blessed country.

I love that you had the honor to visit such a lovely lady =^).