Free to be…Be Grateful!

So I was thinking…about freedom.  What a wonderful gift it is to us all.  The dictionary defines is as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”  Wow.  What a wonderful thing we have, and that we often take for granted.
There is a poem called  “The New Colossus” that is inscribed on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  Here is a piece of it…(click on the link above for the entire poem)

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.
— Emma Lazarus, 1883

Personally I have always held a certain fascination with Lady Liberty.  To me she is the most beautiful symbol of freedom.  I had the honor of visiting her back in the early 1990’s.  I remember walking through the museum and listening to the stories of those who fled to our country.  It was very moving.  I look forward to visiting her again with my boys, and I can only hope that they will feel the emotions I felt, and realize just how special our country, and what we stand for,  is to us and others around the globe.  So today, on this 4th of July,  lift your torch high and give a silent thanks to those who have made it possible for us to live free…Free to be…Be grateful.

On a side note, I collect Statue of Liberty memorabilia and among the items I have are various books about Lady Liberty.  I would like to share a couple of those with you now.  You can find them at your local library or bookstore.  Here are two of my favorites…

Lady Liberty : a biography by Doreen Rappaport.  This biography captures and reflects on the fervor of those who knew the Statue of Liberty best: the sculptor, the engineer, the newspaper publisher, the poet, and many others who understood her significance and foresaw her magnificent destiny.

Naming Liberty by Jane Yolen.  This book weaves two stories at once: the story of a young girl who emigrates from Russia to America wondering what new name she will choose for herself when she arrives, and the story of young artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi dreaming of a monument he wants to build to honor freedom.  This is a wonderful blend of fiction and non-fiction, and the story will stay with you forever.

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