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The Statue of Liberty

On July 4, 1884 France gave the United States an amazing birthday gift: the Statue of Liberty! Without the base at the bottom, it is as tall as a 15-story building. She is a symbol of the United States. But the world-famous Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbor was built in France.

The statue was shown to the U.S., taken apart, shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in crates, and rebuilt in the U.S. It was France’s gift to the American people.

It all started at dinner one night near Paris in 1865. A group of Frenchmen were talking about their dictator and the democratic government of the U.S. They wanted to build a monument to support American freedom. Maybe then, France would have a democracy in their own country.

At that dinner was the sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. He imagined a statue of a woman holding a torch burning with the light of freedom. It took 21 years for this idea to become a reality. French supporters raised money to build the statue, and Americans paid for the base it would stand on. Finally, in 1886, the statue was dedicated.

The symbol in numbers...

* Engineer Gustave Eiffel, who would later design the Eiffel Tower in Paris, designed Liberty’s “spine.” Inside the statue four huge iron columns support a metal framework that holds the thin copper skin.

* The statue - 46 meters tall - was the tallest structure in the U.S. at that time. Do you know what the tallest structure in New York is today?

* The arm holding the torch measures 14 meters; the index finger, 2.43 meters; the nose, nearly 1.52 meters. That is a big nose! (Be careful, if it gets cold she may sneeze!)

* Visitors climb 354 steps (22 stories) to look out from 25 windows in the crown.

* Seven rays in the crown represent the Earth’s seven seas. 

Images from its construction:

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