First of all, Happy Father’s Day! May this day be filled with family and love on this special day. It’s also a special day for me, Lady Liberty. Many have asked why I chose the 1885 after my name for this blog. June 19, 1885 is the date on which the Statue of Liberty arrived in the New York Harbor, presided over by 200,000 cheering Americans, aboard the French ship, Isere, and took residence on Bedloe Island. This is not, however, why I chose 1885 instead of 1886, the year the Lady was dedicated in a formal ceremony.
1885 was the year she almost was left without a place to stand, quite literally. Funding for her pedestal had dried up. It’s interesting to note that Congress did not release the additional $100,000 needed due to Democrats refusing to approve the measure. With Congress not contributing and the NY Governor, Grover Cleveland, vetoing a proposal for $50,000 there was little choice left. Work was suspended which in turn spurred Joseph Pulitzer (yes, the same as the prize name) to push fundraising for the project. Pulitzer was running New York World paper at the time and announced a drive to raise the $100,000 needed; the equivalent of $2.3 million today. Donations trickled in from all over the country – from every walk of life. It was these final donations, some as small as five cents, that came from the Citizens of the United States which enabled the Lady to take her post.
It was not big government, State government, industry or corporations that came through for Lady Liberty. It was the little people, the common citizen so to speak. It was they who stepped forward in a time when money was precious. The belief that the people can make a difference, will act to stand up for what they believe in and stand up for what is right can be seen in a physical object – the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. She has been an unwavering symbol both of Hope and of Freedom built-in part ‘By The People For The People’. It was ‘We The People’ that provided the foundation upon which one of the most recognized icons in History, as well as American Freedom, would stand. It was this spirit – this inspiration, that dictated my addition of ‘1885’ to this Blog. May she always be a beacon for Truth, Freedom and Liberty and may she forever remind Americans of our Foundation.