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Happy Birthday, Statue of Liberty

Statue Of Liberty
Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Today we celebrate the 127th birthday of the Statue of Liberty. French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi built the historic statue in 1884. It required hundreds of workers, working ten-hour days, seven days a week, to finish the project in just NINE YEARS. I would say that’s real dedication for a project you plan to give away to another nation.

The statue was finished in July of 1884 and formally presented to President Grover Cleveland and the citizens of the United States. However, it took many more months after that for the French ship “Isere” to deliver the 350 individual pieces packed into 214 crates. It arrived in the US in June of 1885. The reassembly of the statue was completed and dedicated on Thursday, October 28, 1886.

Liberty Island

Bedloe Island was selected as the site for the reconstruction of the statue in America. The name of Bedloe Island was eventually changed to Liberty Island and is only accessible by ferry. Bartholdi thought New York harbor would give future immigrants their first view of the new world and the statue would be both a welcome and universal symbol of freedom.

Some Statue of Liberty Facts

  • It’s an amazing feat of engineering when you consider the weather and high wind conditions the statue must withstand. Many were concerned that hurricane Sandy might take out the statue.
  • The outer copper covering of the Statue of Liberty is about the thickness of two pennies and the green color is the result of oxidation with the salt water surrounding it.
  • The statue’s value fluxuates because during the hundred year restoration done in 1986 thin sheets of 24k gold were applied to the torch.
  • Lady Liberty has a waistline of 35 feet and weighs 225 tons. Jenny Craig anyone?
  • You might ask, “Hey, why the long face?” Her face is more than eight feet tall.
  • Broken shackles lie at Lady Liberty’s feet as a symbol of oppression and tyranny.
  • The seven rays on her crown could represent the seven continents or the seven seas.
  • The tablet in her left hand is inscribed with July IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776) and is 23 feet 7 inches tall and 13 feet 7 inches wide.

Some Final Thoughts

The Statue of Liberty was officially named “Liberty Enlightening the World.” There are 354 steps inside the statue including the pedestal. The crown contains 25 viewing windows.

Having been born in the United States I can only imagine what European immigrants felt when Lady Liberty floated into view. The hope of freedom, opportunity, and a new life that was impossible in their former homelands. Lady Liberty presented a land where the only limits to success are those that individuals put upon themselves. Those of us lucky enough to have been born here often forget that we won life’s lottery. Imagine you were on that ship viewing that lovely lady for the first time. How would you feel?

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