The Statue of Liberty Arrives in the U.S.
On this day in 1885, the Statue of Liberty, America’s iconic symbol of freedom and independence, arrived in New York Harbor in Manhattan, New York after a long voyage across the Atlantic. Over two hundred thousand people lined the docks and boarded hundreds of boats to welcome the French steamer Isère and catch a glimpse of the copper and iron statue.
The statue was shipped disassembled in over 300 individual pieces and packed in over 200 cases. Almost immediately after its arrival, the reassembly of the statue began.
Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the statue was a gift of friendship to the United States from the people of France to commemorate the nation’s independence. The statue is of a robed female representing Liberatas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and tabula ansata upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. After being reassembled, the statue was officially dedicated on October 28, 1886 by President Grover Cleveland.
Over the years, Lady Liberty’s original copper coloring has undergone a natural color-changing process that has produced its current greenish-blue hue.
In 1903, poet Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “The New Colossus,” was inscribed on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The poem includes these iconic lines,
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Today the statue remains a welcoming beacon of hope and freedom to immigrants arriving from around the world.
Have you been to the Statue of Liberty?