Liberty Enlightening the World

I learned something new today! By simply Googling “Statue of Liberty,” I found out that the grand lady’s official name is Liberty Enlightening the World. She was a gift from the country of France, who saw America as the Republican ideal. This beautiful gift was to commemorate the centennial of our Declaration of Independence. In her pedestal, is a plaque inscribed with 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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

My great-grandmother emigrated to American from Scotland when she was 16 years old. She didn’t get to see the Statue of Liberty for two reasons. The first is that she was blind. The second is that because of her blindness, the family was afraid to enter America through Ellis Island, and came down through Canada instead, with William Phillips, a Pennsylvania farmer, as their sponsor. Because it was difficult to find work as a blind girl, Margie went to work for Mr. Phillips, to take care of his two small sons. Eventually she and Bill married, and had twelve children of their own! And here she is, five generations later! (The baby is my Jordan, her first great-great-grandchild!)

And in honor of the 234th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, we’ve made our own Liberty Enlightening the World! Much smaller, of course, than the original. She is quite the challenge to paint, since she’s monochromatic, so each cutting varies slightly!

Liberty… enlightening the world … celebrating one of the most historically profound statements about human rights…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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