MamaDog Woofs

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Lady Liberty

Last weekend, my family traveled to New York City to watch my sister graduate from Ross University as a vet. It was an amazing experience and one that left me with many memories to hold dear. Everyone wants to know what we saw, what we did....instead, I tend to think about my trips from the question of what did I FEEL? What were the gifts of experience from going there? Our family has a tradition that on the way home, we always choose the "one favorite thing" we each did on the trip. This time we excluded Paula's graduation (I'll blog about that separately) and I would have to say seeing Liberty was mine.

It's not because I saw it. It's because of what she made me FEEL.

These pictures are different than all the millions taken over the years of Liberty, but certainly not because they're better or perfect or even usual. They're special because I was with her, and I felt her presence. She is immense, and powerful, and beautiful, and tied to the way I feel about my country in a way I never even realized until that moment. My favorite pictures from the visit there aren't the perfect ones...they are these darker ones that show her standing there, strong, surrounded by a rainy day in front of the skyline forever changed by the hatred and violence brought to our shores at Ground Zero. She's just THERE. Standing tall, standing free, accessible without admission charge to every American who can afford the ferry ride across the harbor to get there. She is OURS. She made me proud, and emotional, and almost overwhelmed by the size and scope of her art in a way that most people won't admit to being moved by a statue.

We went there on a day when the rain came down, and the line to go through the ferry security extended all the way around the park with a waiting time of over an hour. And yet, in all that time, people didn't complain, argue, or leave. They just hunkered down, ate a hot dog, bought cheap umbrellas from the roving vendors, and waited. They waited patiently and watched across the harbor, knowing that THAT'S where they wanted to go. Sure, we all would have preferred a nice sunny day and nice comfy benches or even better....a shorter line! But NOBODY was leaving. If the price to keep my statue safe is that wait for an hour to go through security, then so be it.
Much is available online about Liberty, including this terrific page which includes links to the official government sites. The realization of how she was made, and the complicated support system that makes her last, makes her even more amazing. She was forged by hand, one piece of 'skin' at a time, making her truly a work of art.

Liberty gave me a feeling of connectedness, of being tied to something larger and grander and more immense in my life. She reminded me that this is my country, and yours too. We visited her after seeing the World Trade Center site and before Ellis Island (more on those later too) and it all just solidified something for me. It gave me a priceless moment that I would wish for every person who visits her.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Long may she stand to share, silently, her eternal message of freedom.


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