Sunday, July 3, 2011

“As Mankind becomes more liberal,

they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”
~ George Washington

Wonder what George would think these days? I have been thinking of trends in our country...I am sure every reader of this blog is dealing with the economy...but the famous words on the plaque for the Statue of Liberty proclaims...

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

We don't want any tired let alone poor based on some of the commentary in the press these days, but this quote comes from Emma Lazarus' sonnet, "New Colossus," which she wrote for a fundraiser auction to raise money for the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty now sits. The poem did not receive much recognition and was quite forgotten after the auction.

In the early 1900s and after Lazarus' death, one of her friends began a campaign to memorialize Lazarus and her New Colossus sonnet. The effort was a success, and a plaque with the poem's text was mounted inside the pedestal of the statute.

I have a collection of Statue of Liberty souvenirs and a few others!The term souvenir, like our Statue of Liberty is from the French meaning for a remembrance. It is mass produced "stuff", but I like that the definition says that "the object itself has no real significance other than the psychological connection the possessor has with the object as a symbol of past experience. Without the owner's input, the object's meaning is invisible and cannot be articulated." So much for getting money for those shot glasses, Wilbur!

But, let's consider Miss Liberty---she is 151 ft. from the base to the torch. With the pedestal and foundation included in the measurement, the full height is 305 ft. She sits atop the 65 ft. tall foundation fashioned in the shape of an eleven-point star and an 89 ft. stone pedestal. Her feet are 25 ft long, making her a US women's shoe size 879. She also has a 35 ft. waist, and her face is more than 8 ft. tall. Her right arm, which holds the ever-lit torch, measures 42 ft. Her nose is 4 ft. 6"!

The crown has seven points, representing the seven seas and seven continents. Each individual ray of the crown weighs about 150 pounds and measures up to 9 ft. The total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 450,000 pounds (225 tons). The copper alone weighs around 100 U.S. tons and is 3/32 of an inch thick—a little less than the thickness of two pennies. It was hammered by hand into plates, which are attached to the interior iron frame.

There are 354 steps inside the statue from the pedestal to the crown.

The Statue was closed after the September 11 attacks, but, even though she was in sight of the Towers, she was not hit which, if one thinks of it, is interesting.
She was reopened in 2004, but the security is tight.
So, today and tomorrow as the fireworks go off, think about those who sailed into that NY Harbor....I know my grandparents are on Ellis Island manifests...think of those who still come here for things we take for granted...owning a business, food galore, and souvenirs!
If you did not realize the famous Statue of Liberty lines were from a sonnet, here is the complete sonnet.

The New Colossus
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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