Statue of Liberty – Lady Liberty

This statue was a gift from the people of France. The French leadership felt that any monument celebrating American freedom should be a joint project for both the French and American people. France provided the statue and America provided the pedestal and site. The statue designed by Frederic Bartholdi and began construction in the early 1870’s. The statue was dedicated on October 28th, 1886 at Bedloe Island in New York harbor. In 1956 Congress officially changed the name of Bedloe Island to Liberty Island.

The Statue of Liberty also known as Lady Liberty is a robed female that represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom who bears a torch and a tabula ansata which translates, “tablet evoking the law. On the tablet is inscribed the date of the Declaration of independence and at Liberty’s feet a broken chain symbolizing freedom.

During World War II, though the statue remained open for visitors during the day, it’s lights were unlit at night because of blackouts due to possible air attacks. The lights were lit briefly on December 31st, 1943 and on June 6th, 1944, D-Day with lights flashing dot-dot-dot-dash which is Morse code for “V” for victory. New lighting was installed in 1944-45 and were lit everyday after sunset for a few hours since V-J Day, the end of WWII. In 1957 it was decided to keep the lights on from sunset to dawn.

Lady Liberty has gone through renovations over the years most notable are the renovations begun in 1984 in preparation for the centennial celebration of the statue. July 3rd to the 6th, 1986 “Liberty Weekend” was held and the statue was rededicated with President Ronald Regan presiding over the festivities and French President Francois Mitterrand in attendance. In his speech President Regan said “We are the keepers of the flame of liberty, we hold it high for the world to see.”

The Statue of Liberty and its symbol of freedom is as much prevalent today as it was in 1886. Since the attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001, our freedoms and liberties have been in jeopardy from those who want to destroy our way of life. The war on terror is a war on our way of life. If not for the brave men and women who serve in all our military branches our country would be lost and our freedom gone.

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