Today marks the 120th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by President Grover Cleveland in front of a huge crowd on Liberty Island. The statue which was a gift of friendship from France was first commissioned in France in the late 1860's with a planned completion 1876 just in time for America's centennial. The first small scale model was completed in 1870 and is still on display today at Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. Another copy also stands on the river Seine in Paris facing west toward the original statue in New York Harbor.
Through the years Lady Liberty has served as an actual lighthouse with a beacon that could be seen as far as 24 nautical miles out at sea. It also survived the 1916 Black Tom Explosion but had to undergo much repair work after the explosion. In 1966, the Statue of Liberty, along with Ellis Island and Liberty Island were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.Until 9/11 the Statue was open to all visitors, but after 9/11 and subsequent threats, Liberty Island, Ellis Island, and the Statue itself was closed. In August 2004 the islands and the statue pedestal and museum were reopened to the public, but the interior of the statue remains closed. In June of this year, Senate Bill 3597 was proposed and if approved will re-open the crown and the interior to visitors. In August of 2006, National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, in a letter to Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York stated that the crown and interior of the statue would remain closed indefinitely. The letter stated that "the current access patterns reflect a responsible management strategy in the best interests of all our visitors." Approval or disapproval of SB3597 isn't expected until sometime in mid 2007.
The ravages of time and weather have taken their toll, and yeah she's had a face lift or two...but she still looks great for being 120 years old. If we could look half that good at half her age, we'd be doing pretty good. Happy 120th Lady Liberty! AND HERE'S TO 120 MORE!!!
Til Next Time....................