The New Colossus

Lady Liberty

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!"

Emma Lazarus (1883)

Photo © 2009 Gregory J. Galfo. Reprinted with permission.

From my grandparents’ house in Jersey City Heights, you could clearly see the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. When speaking with my aunt, she said, “I grew up looking at the statue, but only visited it once.” That kind of tourism must run in the family. I looked at the Empire State Building through my dining room window for 13 years – and only went to the top once, when I was eight years old.

  • Fun Facts:
  • Chains and a broken shackle lie at the Statue’s feet, which symbolize the Statue as a woman free from oppression and servitude.
  • The French ship "Isere" transported the Statue of Liberty’s 300 copper pieces packed in 214 crates to America. Although the ship nearly sank in rough seas, it arrived in New York on June 17, 1885. The Statue’s parts remained unassembled for nearly a year until the pedestal was completed in 1886.
  • A tablet held in her left hand measures 23 feet, 7 inches tall and 13 feet 7 inches wide. It is inscribed with the date of American Independence written in Roman numerals – JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776).
  • "La Liberté Éclairant le Monde" or "Liberty Enlightening the World" is the official name given to the Statue the Liberty by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and is a symbol of freedom to the entire world. In recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution, French statesman and writer Edouard de Laboulaye proposed presenting a monument to America as a gift from the people of France.

Author: Virginia Wagner Galfo

These are scary times. Prepare yourself to take a stand for what is right. God damn it, just be kind!

4 thoughts on “The New Colossus”

    1. The base of Liberty was hewn from a quarry in Scotland. That same quarry provided the stones for the PanAm103 Monument in Arlington National Cemetary.


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