Sunday diversion / Lady Liberty birthday edition

my country, ’tis of thee
You may have seen that this week marked the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. (Stuff on that is all over the inter-tubes, including here; that h/t goes to Josh Marshall, obviously.)

Of course, that is cool, and the pix and history are a wonderful way to relate to how this stautue came to be and why she stands where she is. (Merci`, mon amis!) But that story, wonderful as it is (I guess that story I heard about French schoolchildren was just a myth [darn!], but note the real story involves government refusals and citizen action), is eclipsed in my mind by the power of a different art than sculpture, and a different principle than republican forms of government.

The Emma Lazurus poem that has been associated with the Lady almost from the beginning is itself a wonderful story (The Wiki helps, here). That poem significantly changed the meaning of the Lady, such that for not quite 125 years she stands for our welcome to "huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

I have to wonder … whatever happened to that country.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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