Lady Liberty: A Classic American Icon
By: Regina Tingle
For the first time in my life I visited the Statue of Liberty this week. Classic American icon, symbol of freedom and rallying point of our nation, she has captured my heart and my imagination for as long as I can remember. Like many Americans, I cannot recall a time in my life when I did not know of her existence.
Lady Liberty reminds me of the journeys and voyages so many of our ancestors made in the name of freedom. Unbiased and unaffected by politics, she stands strong in her metaphor, having served for centuries as a towering, loyal witness, guardian and protector of the land of the free. Her steadfast stride breaking free of her shackles is a statement: Change means revolution.
The U.S. has a long history of challenges in the name of freedom. We are known the world over for going to great lengths to preserve and protect our ideals. But as a nation we are far from perfect when it comes to our own standards of democracy. We have made grave mistakes which have cost countless lives in the name of defending democracy and we often struggle to find a balance between promoting that democracy and protecting human rights. We sometimes fail, gravely compromising the very rights we are trying to protect, overlooking own citizens’ needs.
Lucky for us, we are also a nation always evolving, always growing, always striving to do better. The Statue of Liberty reminds me of this. Appropriately named, “Mother of exiles,” she is exquisite; bravely holding the torch that lights her own way.
The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus
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!”