She stands magnificent on her own island in the middle of New York Harbor. And she is awe-inspiring. I could see her from the windows of the train as I crossed over the Manhattan Bridge going to and from Brooklyn and Manhattan. And for the first year I lived in New York, I stood and walked to the door, if there was room, to get a better view of her.
There are a lot of places in the City where you can view the Statue of Liberty – from buildings in the Wall Street District, from Battery Park in South Manhattan, from the Promenade or a hill in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, from Staten Island shore, from the top of Rockefeller Center, from the bridges – Verrazon-Narrows Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge – from a hot air balloon. You can take a boat and tour Liberty Island, crawl up inside the statue and look out through her crown. I never wanted to do that, because she was more real to me, more alive, from the audience than backstage. And my favorite view was traveling past her on the Staten Island Ferry.
Who is she? 305 feet tall, made of iron, steel, and copper that oxidizes green, she gets struck by lightening several times a year, The official rhetoric is that the Statue of Liberty was a friendship gift from the French government to the United States government, but that is not really the truth and the truth is so much more meaningful.
The Statue of Liberty was created by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who originally offered her to Egypt to stand as a lighthouse at the Suez Canal. Bartholdi designed her as a Nubian slave girl of ancient Egypt (I appointed slaves as watchmen in thy harbour…Ramses III donation to the Temple of Re) and dressed her like a Bedouin wearing sandals. When the Egyptian government declined his offer, Bartholdi then turned to the U.S. It took fifteen years – imagine his passion – for him to raise the funds through donations from the French and the American people to manufacture his statue, our statue, our Nubian slave Statue of Liberty. There is some irony here.
She represents something enormous, and I suppose each person has to decide what that is. Liberty? It seems a lot of us are captive to social pressure or criticism or the need to work at an unfulfilling job. Or we are shackled with worry about finances or health issues or the meteor that is supposedly going to fracture the earth into pieces.
For me, she represents dignity and strength in the face of all that. Boldly holding that torch, look here, don’t give in to your fear or to the fear of others! Don’t give in to fear and hatred. Never give in except to honor and good sense. And find that honor and good sense inside yourself. And PS: It’s not always easy.
Post by Alana Cash