Friday, June 19, 2009

This Day in History: June 19, 1885

On this day in 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor as a symbol of Franco-American friendship.

A mere nine years late, the 300-foot statue was a gift from the people of France, who had been the Patriots’ primary foreign ally in the War for Independence, to those of United States as a celebration of the Declaration of Independence’s centenary in 1876.

Lady Liberty was designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue that was originally named "Liberty Enlightening the World."

After completion, the statue was disassembled into 350 different sections and shipped to the United States in 214 crates. Another year later, on October 28, 1886, the statues reconstruction was completed and the dedication ceremony commenced, led by then President Grover Cleveland.

The statue’s pedestal bears the words of poet Emma Lazarus, written in 1883:
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.

When the Ellis Island immigration center opened its doors on an island in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty in 1892, Lazarus’ words welcomed the 12 million immigrants who passed by “Lady Liberty” after trying trans-Atlantic journeys on their way to becoming Americans.

Celebrate the history of our country and its allies with a pair of Statue of Liberty Cufflinks!

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