The Statue of Liberty, officially named the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, sits on the 12-acre Liberty Island in New York Harbour. This national monument, along with Ellis Island, has represented freedom from tyranny, financial hardship and suffering for many immigrants since the late 1800s (Source: Official website)
‘The statue of liberty is described as a neoclassical sculpture and it was designed by Frederic Bartholdi and dedicated on 28 October 1886. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France and is a statue of a robed female representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.’ From ground level to torch is an incredible 93 metres! (Source: Wikipedia) During the restoration completed in 1986, the new torch was carefully covered with thin sheets of 24k gold.
It must have taken commitment to make this a reality if one considers that constructed in France, transported all the way to the US and then installed on Liberty Island.
USA Today explains that ‘The Statue of Liberty is not only a national monument; it serves as a reservoir of the statue’s history. The pedestal contains a lobby, exhibits on the first and second floors and a 10th-floor observatory. Located on the first floor, the Torch Exhibit features the original 1886 torch. The second floor’s exhibits, including Mother of Exiles, Becoming the Statue of America and The Statue in Popular Culture, consist of photos, prints, artefacts and oral histories. The second-floor balcony overlooks the torch exhibit and provides diagrams, photos and historic details. The Statue of Liberty was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and architectural significance.’
And indeed it is: it must be a welcoming sight to the weary and unsure eyes of immigrants pursuing the Great American Dream. James Truslow Adams defined this as ‘life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement, regardless of social class or circumstance of birth. The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that ‘all men are created equal’ and that they are ‘endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights’ including ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’
It is one of those symbols that America just would not be America without it. As William Dankenbring writes: ‘New York City has been a merchant capital from its inception, from the time it was first settled by Dutch traders and called New Amsterdam. From the time it was first settled, it was a place of rampant enterprise and merchandising, and grew to symbolise the entrepreneurial spirit of America. Just like its predecessor of olden days, modern New York is the financial hub and capital of the world. It is the centre of American and multi-national finance, marketing and location of the headquarters of the United Nations.’
If we had to stop here, you would most certainly believe that you are on hallowed ground if you had the chance to visit the site. But is there more to the Statue of Liberty?
The statue was not a gift from the French Government, but from Freemasons in France. Dice (2010) points out that: ‘Frederic Bartholdi, the designer of the statue itself, Gustave Eiffel, who designed the inner support and Richard Hunt the designer of the pedestal were all Freemasons. The Statue is essentially a modern version of the Colossus of Rhodes, which was a depiction of the Greek sun god, Helios. There is a poem printed on a plaque that sits prominently outside the Statue of Liberty entitled The New Colossus. The torch is the torch of Prometheus, which refers to Lucifer.’
The word Lucifer means ‘light-bearer or light bringer.’