The statue of Liberty, The statue enlightening the world

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“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!”

  Emma Lazarus – The new Colossus 

I still have time to see more before I meet with Neil. I didn’t have a destination in mind, so I headed to the pier where the ferries dock. Tourists are close together as they face the challenge of being photographed while they are feeding a squirrel, ITALIANS! I remember once when I saw squirrels in Hyde Park in London, I pulled pieces of bread, and threw it to them as if they were pigeons. I admired them tenderly, when my English colleague had asked me why was I think so kindly about them? In fact, for those who are used to having squirrels in their country e.g. Canadians, Americans, and British – they  define their nature in a derogatory way. They are rodents – said with the grimace of disgust – Just like rats and mice!

However, most Italians, feel associated with the squirrel as they do with Chip and Dale, the Disney scoiattolicharacters. So we tend to have a tender image of them and forgetting that they may be little creatures that gnaw whatever they find, and create a lot of trouble for people.

Walking through the park I lean on the railing, daydreaming, watching  and admiring  the woman who raises the torch,: the Statue of Liberty!

“Liberty enlightening the world, the symbol of freedom for excellence, my prerogative.

It stands triumphantly at the entrance to the port on the Hudson River, situated  on the rocky Liberty Island, as an ideal welcome to all those who arrived in the U.S. in the previous century; for those who were in search of a better life.

It was once the statue, the first image that immigrants at Ellis Island coming to America would see, and was a symbol of welcome and hope.

And now, I look exactly like them. I won’t stay all my life here in America, but time is short, a few weeks to enjoy a balanced mentally evolved city, where everyone is free to be whatever he wants to be.

I still remember, when a few years ago, I took the ferry and I met her face to face. I was at her feet.  I was there and my feeling was that you couldn’t believe. It’s  93 meters tall, it was so colossal that I seemed like a little ant. Suffice it to say that only the pedestal is 47 meters high. I look away from the woman and I remember perfectly the meaning in its details: wearing a long robe, holding a torch in one hand, fiercely, the symbol of the eternal fire of freedom, while the other holds a book dated July MDCCLXXVI IV, 4 July 1776, American Independence Day. In addition, there are on the feet, the broken chains, are symbols of the liberation from the power of despotic rulers. On the head is a crown, whose seven points represent the seven seas and seven continents. Designed by Édouard René de Laboulaye, it was built in Paris, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. He designed the monument to freedom, as this was not valued in his country, in fact, his intent was to “give glory to liberty and to the Republic in the hope that these values don’t ever die.”

statua-della-liberta-new-yorkReading the historical background,  I note that during the celebrations for the inauguration, it spontaneously  formed  the first ticker-tape parade,  an event which has become characteristic of American culture and is particularly linked to the city of New York. In 1924, the statue became a national monument on the island on which it is placed. On the pedestal is engraved a sonnet entitled “ The New Colossus”, written by the poet Emma Lazarus U.S. in order to raise funds for the construction of the statue:

 

“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!”

 

You may be wondering why I tell you about this historical information and why I admire the statue. Honestly, only knowing the history, the past, the real meaning, can you  understand a masterpiece. If we didn’t know the reason for the quintessential symbol of the United States, then we turn around, and we will say how beautiful it is. But then there is nothing that you can transmit as knowing the historical background, increases your appreciation. Every time I think back I shudder, and try to remember the time of construction. I think of the years in which the countrymen had a desperate need to believe that the statue would bring them luck. I close my eyes, as I believe, that like them, this will bring me luck for the rest of my trip and give me the courage to continue to hold my head up high, like her.

I relish for a few moments this wonderful feeling, then return to the frenetic Wall Street.