Day Eighteen

This morning we visited the Statue of Liberty (SOL).

Standing in New York Harbor, SOL, one of the most colossal sculptures in the history of the world, symbolizes freedom throughout the world. Its formal name is the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. The statue has greeted many millions of the oppressed and of the venturesome of other lands who have crossed the ocean in hopeful search of greater freedom and opportunity.

To the poet Emma Lazarus, who saw refugees from persecution arriving on a tramp steamer, following incredible sufferings, the Statue was "The New Colossus" or the "Mother of Exiles". She wrote of it in a poem in 1883 which was graven on a tablet within the pedestal on which the statue stands:

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!"

Located on the 12 acre Liberty Island, SOL was actually a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

The statue, at 151 feet tall or 305 feet including base and pedestal), made of copper sheets with an iron framework, depicts a woman escaping the chains of tyranny, which lie at her feet. Her right hand holds aloft a burning torch that represents liberty. Her left hand holds a tablet inscribed with the date "July 4, 1776" (in Roman numerals), the day the United States declared its independence from England. She is wearing flowing robes and the seven rays of her spiked crown symbolize the seven seas and continents.

SOL is an integrated sculpture. The statue itself was designed by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, born in Colmar, France, in 1834. The interior iron framework was designed by French architect Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, also designer of the famous Eiffel Tower. The statue's pedestal was designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt. A permanent exhibit in the museum at the base of the statue details the statue's origin and construction as well as the story of her evolution into an international symbol of liberty.

To access Liberty Island, where SOL is located, you'll need to take a ferry which leaves from Battery Park. Visiting the statue itself is free, but to get to Liberty Island, you will have to pay for the ferry. Security is very serious for visitors to SOL – everyone will clear security (including x-ray inspections of baggage and walk through metal detectors) before boarding the ferry.

It was interesting to see several street entertainers performing by the roadside in the park. I saw one or two entertainers standing still on a half-a-meter-tall stand with a robe on the body and a self-made crown on the head. You might think that the statue had been moved here at first sight; but when you take a more careful sight of them, you may find that the hand holding the torch is slightly quivering. Their "performing skills" touched me so much. What touched me more was a black violinist who played the violin for the tourists every day. Each time I passed by him with the group in the previous years, he would play the National Anthem of the People's Republic of China. But we didn't see him this year; maybe it was because of the cold weather.

At 6:40 in the evening we went back to Pine Plains by train.

Ellis Island – Part of SOL

For some reason, we didn't visit Ellis Island this year. Our ferry stopped at the berth and we didn't leave the ferry. However, Ellis Island is also an islet worth visiting.

Near the Statue of Liberty is Ellis Island which is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. This island served as an immigrant station and a temporary shelter for people coming to the United States from other countries. Between 1892 and 1954, approximately 12 million people passed through Ellis Island seeking refuge, freedom and opportunity. Ellis Island It was added to the National Park System in May of 1965 and, through extensive restoration, its main building after 30 years of abandonment opened on September 10, 1990 as a national museum dedicated to the history of the Ellis Island Immigration Station. Today, over 40 percent of America's population can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island.

Ellis Island is federal property partly within the territorial jurisdiction of both the States of New York and New Jersey.