On: October 28,1886
An emblem of Franco-American unity, the Statue of Liberty, was presented to the American people by the French and unveiled this day in 1886. The Statue of Liberty at Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor is the work of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. He called it Liberty Enlightening the World. Bartholdi was present at the dedication presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland.
Inscribed on a tablet inside the pedestal of 'Miss Liberty' is a poem by Emma Lazarus. It describes the statue of a woman holding a book and torch. The symbol of freedom, she waits for immigrants who must pass by her on their way to Ellis Island and admission to America. It reads:
"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!'"
The 152-foot high statue, weighing 225 tons, now sits on Liberty Island. On August 3, 1957, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name from Bedloe's Island to Liberty Island.
Liberty and justice for all!