View From the Crown
Statue of Liberty's crown to reopen for visitors on July 4
There will be more than fireworks and festivals to celebrate Independence Day this year. On July 4, the crown of the Statue of Liberty will once again be open to visitors.
The entire statue was closed to the public after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. On that day, terrorists flew planes into major buildings in New York City, Washington, D.C., and into a field near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After the attacks, U.S. officials tightened security at many major landmarks, buildings, and transportation systems.
In 2004, officials decided it was safe to reopen the Statue of Liberty's base and lower observation deck to visitors.
But the Department of the Interior, which oversees U.S. national parks and landmarks, decided to keep statue's crown closed. Officials said they were mainly concerned about the safety of the narrow 168-step spiral staircase that leads to the top of the statue.
Thanks to a number of recent security improvements, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar says the crown can be reopened. Ten people will be allowed in the crown at a time. Park rangers will bring visitors up the spiral staircase to the top of the statue.
"On July 4th, we are giving America a special gift," Salazar said in May. "We are once again inviting the public to celebrate our great nation and the hope and opportunity it symbolizes by climbing to [the statue's] crown for a unique view of New York Harbor, where millions of American families first saw the new world."
People are accepting the gift with enthusiasm. The first batch of tickets to visit the crown sold out within a day.
Story of the Statue
The Statue of Liberty's real name is Liberty Enlightening the World. The people of France gave the statue to the people of the U.S. as a symbol of American independence. She is also a symbol of friendship between the two countries. The 150-foot tall statue was unveiled in New York Harbor on October 26, 1886.
Often called "Lady Liberty," the statue stands for freedom and independence. The tablet in her left hand has the date July 4, 1776, engraved on it. That's the date the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed. The right hand holds the Torch (or Light) of Freedom. The broken chain near the statue's feet symbolizes the victory of liberty over a cruel and oppressive government.
The Statue has represented freedom and hope to millions of immigrants who came and are still coming to the U.S. to find a better life. Particularly in the late 1800s and early 1900s, most immigrants first arrived in America by way of New York Harbor. As newcomers approached their new home aboard boats, the Statue of Liberty was there to greet them.
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