Happy Birthday Statue of Liberty
She was dedicated 125 years old ago today. The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986. (1)
An incredible copper statue
Lady Liberty is made from 300 copper sheets, which are suspended from a steel framework. These copper sheets have naturally oxidized over the years, to form a 'patina' green coating. This is why the Statue of Liberty appears green. This 151′1″ tall Statue of Liberty, stands on an 89 feet tall pedestal (made of concrete and granite) and 65 feet tall. The Statue of Liberty bears semblance to Libertas, an ancient Roman goddess of freedom from slavery and tyranny. However, the sculptor, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, modeled the statue's face after his mother's. Lady Liberty's face is more than 8 feet tall.(4)
Her feet are 25 feet long, wherein her raised right foot symbolizes moving forward, while the left foot symbolizes trampling binding shackles. Her crown features seven spikes representing the seven continents and seven seas.
photo credit – flickr.comLady Liberty's highlight is the torch held in the right hand and the Statue of Liberty tablet grasped in the left. The flame of the torch is coated with gold-leaf and represents enlightenment, affirming the fact why Lady Liberty is referred to as ‘Liberty enlightening the World’. The gold-leaf coating reflects the sun's rays during the day and after dusk, the 16 floodlights in the torch light it up. (4)
She survived a terrorist attack – in 1916
Two million tons of war materials packed into train cars was blown up in the Black Tom railroad yard on what is now a part of Liberty State Park. Thousands of windows shattered in lower Manhattan and Jersey City. Shrapnel pock-marked the Statue of Liberty from this act of sabotage.
According to a recent study, the resulting explosion was the equivalent of an earthquake measuring between 5.0 and 5.5 on the Richter Scale. Windows within a 25-mile radius were broken, the outside wall of Jersey City’s City Hall was cracked and pieces of metal damaged the skirt of the Statue of Liberty (it is because of this explosion that the Lady's torch has been closed off to visitors). (2) A forty feet ladder leads to the torch, however, after the "Black Tom" explosion of 1916, it is no longer accessible to the public.
The culprits? German agents who were determined to prevent American munitions shippers from supplying its English enemy during the First World War. Never mind that the U.S. was officially neutral in the conflict at this point. (3)
Photo from NJ Park and Forest
What's on the tablet?
Measuring 23′ 7″ tall and 13′ 7″ wide, the tablet is held in Lady Liberty's left hand. It displays an inscription, which is the date of United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty denotes the day the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence. (4) This is the only inscription found on the Statue of Liberty.
photo credit – www.featurepics.com The Sonnet
America did not have the funds to build a pedestal, to mount the Statue of Liberty. One of their fundraising ideas was to ask the poet, Emma Lazarus to write a poem for Lady Liberty. She wrote a sonnet, 'New Colossus' -below. This sonnet was inscribed on a bronze plaque and displayed inside the pedestal. However, after renovation, the plaque was moved to the Statue of Liberty museum, at the base of the pedestal.
"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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
(1) – via National Park Service website.