"I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door"

Posted by Tory Historian Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The story of the Staute of Liberty, a gift from France to the United States of America for the centennial of the Declaration of Independence, is long and complicated. Wikipedia gives a good summary as does the National Park Service.

Tory Historian's first sight of it in real life, as opposed to pictures, newsreeels and the unforgettable sequence in Hitchcock's 1942 film "Saboteur" (not to be confused with the earlier "Sabotage", a rather poor version of Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent") was a couple of years after 9/11. A walk along the river bank from Ground Zero was the right preparation for the sight of that statue rising, apparently, from the sea. It was the correct sequence - from despair to hope.

As far as this blog is concerned, what we are noting here is that today is the anniversary of the statue's actual arrival in New York Harbour in 1885 on board the French frigate Isère. Any reader who has not yet seen it is in for a tremendous experience, especially if he or she will include a trip to Ellis Island and a long visit to the museum there, which gives an engrossing account of those arrivals from the Old World.

After an hour or two one can look up and across to the Manhattan skyline and think - this is what those people built when they were no longer tired, poor or huddled masses.


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