The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic figures in the world. It is immediately associated with the United States, specifically New York, and is at the top of the list of places that most tourists want to visit. The Statue of Liberty was presented to the city of New York as a gift from France on October 28, 1886. The womanly figure is representative of Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. In one hand the Statue of Liberty carries a torch and in the other she holds a tablet that is inscribed with a poem and the date of the American Independence—July 4, 1776. In the heydays of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty was often the first sign of America that newly arrived immigrants saw.
Below is a list of facts about the Statue of Liberty:
• The Statue of Liberty was originally colored bronze but, over the years, salt from the surrounding sea has turned it a greenish/aqua shade.
• It is possible for tourists to walk up to the crown on the Statue of Liberty and look out to gain a beautiful view of the city. At one time it was possible to walk up to the torch—the highest point in the statue—but worries about its stability has since closed that portion of the statue to visitors.
• Every year the Statue of Liberty greets over three million visitors!
• The Statue of Liberty is a National Historic Landmark that is maintained by the National Parks Service.
• The poem that is famously inscribed on the Statue of Liberty is titled “The New Colossus.” It is a sonnet written in 1883 by an American poet named Emma Lazarus. The poem reads:
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!”