Friday, October 28

The old colossus

Wow! Talk about a birthday present!

The torch on display at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition
in Philadelphia. I thought it would be bigger.

The Statue of Liberty is getting high-tech gifts for her 125th birthday on Oct. 28, 2011: five webcams that will let visitors see the views from her torch. (Public access to the torch balcony has been prohibited for safety reasons since 1916.)

The Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France, was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886.

(Coincidentally, the first known ticker-tape parade took place on Oct. 28, 1886 in New York City when office workers spontaneously threw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.)

Friday's ceremony also will be marked by a water flotilla, actress Sigourney Weaver reading Emma Lazarus' poem and a naturalization ceremony for 125  people.

The well-known sonnet by Lazarus is inscribed on a plaque (not the tablet!) in the museum in the base.
The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, 1883

The statue, including the pedestal and base, is scheduled to close for up to a year beginning on Oct. 29, 2011, so that a secondary staircase and other safety features can be installed; Liberty Island will remain open.

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