October 28 Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and freedom dedicated to the world

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New Delhi: The Statue of Liberty, one of the most visible symbols of the “free world”, was dedicated to the world on October 28, 1886 by President Grover Cleveland, former Governor of New York. The 151-foot statue, designated a national monument in 1924 and restored for its centenary in 1986, today serves as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Ironically, the Statue of Liberty was not made in America. The purchase was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States of America for the friendship formed during the American Revolution. The statue sits on what is now known as Liberty Island in New York Harbor.
The placement of the statue was authorized by Congress in 1877. Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman chose the site in accordance with the wishes of sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who consulted Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower, to face to complex structural problems.

An agreement stipulated that the Americans were to fund the 154-foot granite pedestal and foundation while the French would assume responsibility for the statue itself. However, financial problems on both sides of the Atlantic delayed the project. In France, a lottery raised funds, while in the United States money came from newspaper promotions, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, auctions and prize fights.

The unveiling of the statue was more than an occasion to celebrate; it was an opportunity to honor the people who created and paid for it. Thanks were exchanged. Major newspapers acclaimed the “large masses” gathered in the streets of the city to welcome the statue and view the parade, and the sculptor, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was hailed as the man of the day.

But for people in the United States with limited freedom, it was a day to call out hypocrisy. Suffragettes protesting at the opening ceremony objected to the use of a female figure to symbolize freedom when American women were denied the vote, and African-American journalists expressed their ambivalence about the statue following reconstruction, signaling that its interpretation would become a cause for debate.

The statue itself is made of copper sheets and hung on an iron frame, depicts a woman in a dress holding a torch. The torch flame is covered with gold leaf. Her classic appearance is derived from Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberation from slavery, oppression and tyranny. Seven points on the crown evoke the seven seas and the seven continents. Lady Liberty’s torch signifies enlightenment. She holds a tablet which represents knowledge and she notes the date of the declaration of independence which is July 4, 1776.

Since 1916, public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been prohibited for security reasons. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the statue was closed to the public. The National Park Service argued that fire regulations and potential evacuation issues, rather than the threat of a terrorist attack, necessitated its closure to the public. The 10-story pedestal and museum, however, remained open to visitors; the statute itself was reopened to visitors in October 2013.

On October 7, 2016, construction began on a new Statue of Liberty Museum. The 26,000 square foot facility on Liberty Island was slated to open in 2019. When the ground broke, the project had brought in more than $40 million of the required $70 million construction cost.

Even though the statue itself is an American emblem, it has universal appeal as it touches the fundamental human cord of freedom and freedom, symbolizing that the United States is the “freest” country in the world that attracts millions every year to hunt the American. Dream. Apart from this, the statue calls out to all who fight daily to preserve their hard-earned freedom from dictatorial forces around the world.

James V. Hayes