Lady Liberty


This morning I awoke, looked out my window and between all of the high-rise buildings going up around me, I saw Lady Liberty herself standing proudly in the harbor, her confident stance unaffected by the dreary weather up here in New York. I recalled the words that are inscribed on her written by Emma Lazurus:

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!”

My parents, along with hundreds of thousands of other Cuban exiles, took these words to heart and found not only shelter, but the freedom this lady promised. And although we still await the day in which a similar monument to justice and liberty can greet those that return to their native Cuba, or in my case, see her shores for the first time, we give thanks to this great country. We may not always agree with every single policy America has, but we will never forget the opportunity she has given us to live as free men and women.

5 thoughts on “Lady Liberty”

  1. The inscription, to be accurate, should be ammended to read:
    “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Not those adrift or even near shore. No, only those who actually touch shore. All else must return to their masters.”

  2. The sad thing is, the interior of the statue has been closed forever (not counting the base). I have rather fond memories of climbing that narrow spiral staircase all the way to the crown some 20-odd years ago. Absolutely terrifying but, wouldn’t trade it in for the world.

  3. Anastasio:
    I remember climbing up there, too, as a kid, and chickening out before I got to the top!
    That statue means a lot to me, since all my grandparents came here through Ellis Island. For you non-Cubans whose families entered the US the same way,
    has a ton of info and I even saw my grandfather’s name and actual signature on the ship’s manifest.

  4. Thank you for posting this picture. It made my day. Just looking at the Statue of Liberty still brings me tears. Every time I see her, I once again see through my six-year old eyes, and in my poor English, I read aloud the patriotic stickers that my parents, abuelos, and madrina had put on their car bumpers some time during the Bicentennial, which was a couple of years after we arrived here. I once again feel proud of myself for reading these stickers written in a new language, and also once again realize the importance of their message to my family. My two favorites were “Freedom” next to a Statue of Liberty drawing, and “Liberty Still Rings” next to a Liberty Bell silhouette. During our most desperate time, this country opened its arms and gave us freedom and opportunity, and for that we are forever grateful.

  5. I went to NYC six months after 9-11 to see the Towers of Light and took pictures of Lady Liberty from the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Standing on the shore looking at her made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I’m proud to be an American, and pleased to hear so many of newly minted variety are just as glad to be here.

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