On this day in 1884 French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) finished the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.
A gift to celebrate the friendship between both countries during the American Revolution, the 225-ton symbol of freedom arrived from Rouen, France in 214 packing crates. It took four months to assemble.
"Here...my statue must rise," said Bartholdi. "Here where people get their first view of the New World."
What a fine lady! What an assembly! A functioning lighthouse, there are 192 steps from the land to the pedestal and a total of 354 steps to reach the crown. The crown features 25 windows, symbolizing earth's 25 gemstones, and seven rays, representing the seven seas and continents of the world.
Wrote poet Emma Lazarus:
"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!"
Her words are engraved on the statue's pedestal.
About freedom, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once observed, "America, my friends, is the only country in the world actually founded on liberty-- the only one. People went to America to be free."
Each year, about four million people visit this stunning icon of democracy, freedom, and opportunity.
More Art & Artists Quotations
The living gift of freedom is a gift to celebrate.