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The Statue of Liberty

This is truly THE enduring symbol of America and in many ways one of the symbols of the world.  The Statue of Liberty represents the triumph for democratic society over tyranny and corruption, and because of its location in New York’s harbor it represents the hopes and dreams of anyone from anywhere who wants to come to America in search of a better life.

While this may surprise or even anger some Americans the Statue of Liberty was actually a gift from the French.  The idea for the statue was conceived in France shortly after the US civil war.  The French were very impressed that America had fought such a bitter battle and sorted out its problems, thus solidifying its democratic principles that they felt they should give America a gift.

There had already been a long tradition of cooperation between the French and America at that time.  Many felt that those two countries were the twin sisters of liberty after they both had sucked off the yoke of oppressive monarchic rule, and opted for a more democratic form of government. 

In fact, few people know this, but the French were actually crucial players in America’s victory in their revolutionary war against the British.  The French supplied ships, men, food, guns and ammo, as well as leadership.  Most notably in the form of the General Lafayette, who was a close friend of George Washington.

The statue was built to commemorate America’s centennial anniversary, and shortly there after waves of immigrants fleeing violence and economic strife in their own countries came to America and quickly realized that this giant lady welcoming them was their pass to a new and better life.

Today, The Statue of Liberty is still going strong, and after a lengthy makeover in the eighties it looks better than ever.  The following are some quick facts that you may find interesting about one of our greatest national symbols.

Statue of Liberty Quick Facts:

  • The Statue of Liberty celebrates her birthday on October 28th in honor of the day she was officially accepted by the president of the United States in 1886.
  • Visitors must climb 354 stairs to reach the Statue of Liberty's crown (or take an elevator to a lower lookout point).
  • There are 25 windows in Lady Liberty's crown.
  • The seven spikes on the Statue of Liberty's crown represent either the seven oceans or the seven continents.
  • The statue is made of copper and is now green in color because of oxidation (a chemical reaction between metal and water) from evaporation of the seawater surrounding it.
  • The Staue of Liberty weighs 450,000 pounds (204, 100 kilograms). The Statue of Liberty has size 879 sandals that are each 25 feet (7.6m) long.