On this day in 1884 French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) finished his greatest work of art-- the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.
A gift to celebrate the friendship between the U.S. and France during the American Revolution, the 225-ton symbol of freedom arrived from Rouen, France in 214 packing crates and took four months to assemble.
"Here...my statue must rise," said Bartholdi. "Here where people get their first view of the New World."
The Statue of Liberty--What a fine lady! There are 192 steps from the land to the pedestal, with a total of 354 steps to reach the crown. The crown features 25 windows, symbolizing earth's 25 gemstones. Seven rays represent the seven seas and continents of the world.
"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!" wrote poet Emma Lazarus. Her proud words are engraved on the copper Lady'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."
With an over $69 million refurbishment in 1986, today millions from around the world continue to visit this stunning icon of democracy, freedom, and opportunity.
Let freedom ring.