The Statue Of Liberty And Her Promise
The Statue Of Liberty And Her Promise
The Statue of Liberty has stood in Upper New York Bay since her dedication in 1886. This gift, from the people of France, represents a promise. At least one contemporary, legal, immigrant believes that Lady Liberty has kept that promise.
In celebration of the sixth anniversary of her citizenship, Helen Raleigh has written a beautiful blog post for The Federalist. In the post, she describes her husband’s great-grandfather’s journey to the United States from Ireland, and then, her own journey from China. She never got to see the Statue of Liberty, arriving at JFK Airport, by air not by sea.
Although Mrs. Raleigh visited New York City many times, it wasn’t until this sixth anniversary that she finally got to see the Statue of Liberty in person. She wrote:
Yet looking at the city from the distance, especially after learning the history and story behind the statue, the pedestal, and the island, I had a newfound appreciation for this great city. Beneath the seeming chaos, the city is so full of life, creativity, and productivity.
I can’t help thinking about our country, too. There’s a growing effort to put this country down. We are told this country has a shameful history and has never overcome its original sin. It is full of problems, and it isn’t so great after all.
I wish people who say such things would travel outside the United States, not as a tourist for a week or two, but actually spend some time living abroad. Immigrants like me who have lived in places with neither economic nor political freedom can attest that this is the greatest nation on earth, and we are so glad to be part of it.
Helen Raleigh ends the post with the following:
As I admired the skyline of Manhattan, especially the shining Freedom Tower, I remembered a letter I had read in the museum. It was written to the Statue of Liberty by a grateful immigrant in 1984: “You have kept most of your promises and I have done the best I could. I have not grown rich, but have been happy.”
On our way back to the ferry, my husband asked me, “What do you think?” I told him, “She has kept most of her promises, and I am happy.”
It put me in mind of another immigrant to this nation. Last year, Therese Patricia Okoumou made news when she climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest Trump’s treatment of immigrants. Okoumou also called for the abolition of ICE. The woman has no clue about the promise of Lady Liberty. You can read my full post here.
I found a beautiful description of the promise of the Statue of Liberty at LightOmega.org.:
The Statue of Liberty faces outward toward the nations, holding aloft the torch of freedom, the flame of hope, the promise of the future. She holds this torch high in the daytime and during the night as well. She shines her light in the midst of darkness.
This symbol of freedom and hope was presented by the people of France to the people of the United States in 1886 in honor of the friendship between the two nations. Yet, the Statue belongs to all people. Her message is universal, speaking to the hearts of those who cherish freedom everywhere.
Liberty’s image is one of strength, majesty, and hope, visible in her eternally raised right arm which carries the torch of freedom. Holding aloft a light that never fails, she represents hope to the hopeless, welcome to the poor, courage to the meek. Facing outward toward the ocean, her lamp is a beacon on stormy seas, drawing to her shores, those from afar who seek a better life. For these, and for countless others who embrace her message, the Statue of Liberty represents the Golden Door.
The Statue of Liberty represents a chance. She represents a chance to live free from oppression. She represents a chance to speak freely, live freely, and worship freely. For those who are willing to see, the Statue of Liberty keeps her promise.
By the way, if you have never visited the Statue of Liberty in person, you should. Here is a handy video on how to visit:
The Statue of Liberty is a beautiful symbol of the ideals of our nation.