La Liberté éclairant le monde, or commonly known as the Statue of Liberty, is an icon of independence that is eminent and famous throughout the whole world. It represents thousand of years of history: right up until A.D. 994, though of course this statue was not completed until the late 1800’s. The island where Lady Liberty stands treasures a vast variation of stories– starting from the living of Native Americans, how European Colonialization ushered them off the land, the fight to overthrow one landlord after another, to its most important history: the incoming of outside immigrants. The Statue of Liberty itself was a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1886 as a recognition to their friendship during the revolutionary war (the Island was used as an isolation station by the French). The statue stands 305 feet tall (from ground to torch), and has been a most visited historical site.
Delegation of the US-Indonesia Partnership Program were very lucky to have been able to visit. The date was June, 29 (a very hot summer day) when the 8 participants and their supervisors reached the pedastal after climbing 15 flights of stairs. WOW!
For the tour, each of us were equipted with a headphone that was set to explain each parts of the statue as we went through. Starting from the lobby, where the original torch was found. It turns out that the torch on the peak of the statue is actually a replacement and was only just put on in 1984.The torch itself, which is probably the most important and philosophical part of the statue, is considered a symbol of enlightment.
After that, comes the 154 steps of stairs, which was exhausting but quite fun. On the end of the stairs, we faced somewhat a museum that had miniature of the Liberty as well as its history: both it’s construction & dedication, as well as its chronological history. We found out that there were many more flights of steps to go if we wanted to reach the crown. So we figured it would be best just to stay on the pedastal. Besides, the crown had to be booked 6 months earlier!
Though we didn’t reach the top, we found out from the exhibits that there are 25 windows in the crown which symbolize gemstones and the heaven’s rays shining over the world. There are also seven rays of crown that represents the seven seas and continents of the world. Lady Liberty also holds a tablet on her left hand that reads “July 4, 1776” (JULY IV MDCCLXXVI), the Independence day of the United States.
Aside from the Statue of Liberty, there is also Ellis Island, which was unfortunately under construction while we were in New York. The actual escape zone for immigrants during the 1800’s was this very Island, first starting in 1847 when Ireland sent thousands of its starving immigrants to New England and New York. These immigrants were to go through layers of inspection, from administration to health, which was of course an act of safety. Now, Ellis Island is also a historical site where people from all over the world come. Some to see the place where the history of their ancestors, who were immigrants. They would look it up in a humungous pile of books containing names and dates of the immigrant’s arrival.
I never actually thought I’d be able to see the Lady through my own eyes, and I’m very thankful I have. Most importantly, I have learnt that Lady Liberty treasures a great history of freedom belonging to not only the people of America, but to many other countries and tribes around the world.
tulisan ini adalah bagian dari rangkaian cerita perjalanan USIPP 2011, soon to be a book amin