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!”
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, intended to welcome visitors and immigrants as they entered the New York harbor.
She carries a torch in one hand – representative of a light to guide the way – Its symbolism denoted progress. There is a tablet in her other hand, which represents the law with the date of the 4th of July, 1776 etched into it. At her feet lays a broken chain which stands for freedom from the chains of tyranny – won by a determined, fledgling nation.
The words of the poem live on today and are a reminder of the concept of our welcoming nature as a nation. We are a nation of many peoples and many cultures, but we manage to work together for the good of all our citizens.
Lady Liberty has been witness to so much in her short history, but so have we as Americans. We have seen our nation under attack. We have watched as the concepts of the founders have eroded over the past 50 years. We see disturbing images of slavery of all kinds within her boundaries. We watch in wonder at how the ideals of freedom have been corrupted and turned into something that has nothing to do with freedom at all.
We could throw up our hands in despair. We could decry all that has been done – all the blood that has been shed – all the lives lost in defense of this great nation. We could do that, but we must remember that our country is still the best there is. We should never lose faith in that fact.
Our government was instituted by God – the Creator of the Universe. He will never let us down. His light – unlike that of the Statue of Liberty – will shine like a beacon to guide our every step. His Law was established to bring us closer to Him and to realize how much we need Him. The chains that once held us captive to sin have been loosened by the blood of Jesus, Christ and our freedom has been guaranteed.
May God continue to bless America and all that she stands for. Help us, dear Lord, to trust that you have a plan for everything and that no matter what lies ahead, you will be there to protect us.