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Liberty Enlightening the World

Article Date: 
2 July, 2010 - 06:00

James Nickerson submitted this picture to the newspaper several months ago after traveling to New York.  The picture is inspiring enough but I’m sure watching the sun setting behind Lady Liberty in person was an awe-inspiring moment.  
I’ve always been interested in the many monuments around our country that commemorate the country’s rich history.  I traveled to New York several years ago and saw all of the tourist sights, but when our time had run out and it was time to go home, I realized I had not seen the Statue of Liberty.  Well, I had seen it from the end of the island, and I had taken the Staten Island Ferry out by it, but I really wanted to see it and take in all the history and symbolism of it.  
One of the reasons I was so interested was because I had just been studying the stories from Ellis Island of the many immigrants who arrived in the 19th Century to live in a free land.  It seemed that each immigrant that arrived at Ellis Island had a story about what it took to get there that was more fascinating than the one before.  
When they had finally reached the gateway to their freedom, their feelings must have been larger than life when they saw what appeared to be a giant regal woman rising out of the ocean stretching upward her torch representing freedom and liberty.  
I’m sure that when they caught that first glimpse of Lady Liberty after spending days and days at sea, it didn’t matter what language they had come to America speaking.  The moment of gaining your right to freedom after being denied it would be too profound to find words sufficient to describe it.  There are countless stories of those who had risked everything to come to America.  Many of those who passed through Ellis Island had fled oppressive governments and poor living conditions seeking the American Dream.
America is known for taking people of all backgrounds and nationalisties into her melting pot and between 1892 and 1954, twelve million people were processed through Ellis Island and gained freedom.  A lot of these these immigrants were those who worked hard and built up and organized a lot of cities in our country.  I can’t imagine that any of them took for granted the freedoms of America.  
The Statue of Liberty is known throughout the world as a symbol of hope and freedom.  It was given to America by France to commemorate and celebrate 100 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence…even though the ceremony to receive it didn’t happen on the exact anniversary date.  
The original title given to the Statue of Liberty by the artist who created it is, “Liberty Enlightening the World.”  As I took in James Nickerson’s photograph again, the setting sun seemed to be shining directly on the Statue of Liberty and illuminating her alone surrounded by the dark waters.  The original title of “Liberty Enlightening the World” would go well with this picture of the statue and her right hand extended a torch of light to lead other to liberty and freedom.  
At the ceremony to receive France’s gift of the monument, President Grover Cleveland said, “We will not forget that liberty here made her home; nor shall her chosen alter be neglected.”
It is easy to take for granted something that we’ve always had.  Spending the Fourth of July to celebrate this blessed nation is a great way to remember.  Enjoy celebrating our free country Morgan County and remember to “Let Freedom Ring.”