Saturday, November 21, 2015

[for Paris] Enlightening 'Mother of Exiles'

by Bill Doughty
(Navy photos courtesy and Naval History and Heritage Command)

The Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol of enlightenment. France bequeathed the sculpture to the United States in the late 1800s. Lady Liberty has inspired U.S. Sailors and Marines, veterans, and people "yearning to breathe free" for more than a century.

131108-N-XQ474-108 NEW YORK CITY (Nov. 8, 2013) A Sailor and Marine man the rails of the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) as it transits past the statue of liberty. New York departed Naval Station Norfolk to conduct training operations and participate in Veterans Week New York City to honor the service of our nation's veterans. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Andrew Schneider/Released)

According to the National Park Service, "In 1865, a French political intellectual and anti-slavery activist named Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that a statue representing liberty be built for the United States. This monument would honor the United States' centennial of independence and the friendship with France. French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi supported Laboulaye's idea and in 1870 began designing the statue of 'Liberty Enlightening the World.'"

The statue had to be shipped in pieces and reconstructed. It arrived aboard the French Navy ship, Isère. For more than a century U.S. Navy ships have paid tribute, sailing past in New York Harbor.

The Statue of Liberty is framed between the smokestacks of USS Boston in 1889, a protected cruiser and one of the first ships constructed from steel, part of the "modern Navy" of the late 1800s.

USS Leviathan sails with escorts past the Statue of Liberty in 1917. The former German passenger liner Vaterland was seized by the United States during World War I and renamed USS Leviathan in September 1917, serving as a troop transport to Europe, where troops fought with the people of France and England. According to the Naval Historical Center, "Leviathan (was) an appropriate name considering that she was then the largest ship in the U.S. Navy, and in the World. The Navy would not operate a bigger ship until 1945, when the slightly longer and heavier aircraft carrier Midway entered service."

Jerome Agel writes in "Words that Make America Great" (Random House, 1999), "America was the objective of the largest migration of people ever seen on the planet. This extraordinary flow shaped us as a nation. The newcomers came for different reasons ... But most of them considered America a haven, a refuge, a country of the second chance."

Agel reprints the sonnet "The New Colossus," written in 1886, noting that the last five lines of the poem are part of the 150-foot-high pedestal that supports the sculpture.
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!"
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) Passes the Statue of Liberty while en route to Bayonne New Jersey from the New York Navy Yard 16 November 1945.
SSN 696 emblem designed in 1977. USS New York City (SSN-696) was commissioned March 3, 1979 and served till April 30, 1997.
131213-N-KG934-298 NEW YORK (Dec. 13, 2013) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, pilots fly in the world-renowned Delta Formation past the New York City skyline. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Terrence Siren/Released)
121001-G-TG089-038 NEW YORK - The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Murphy (DDG 112) makes its way through New York Harbor in preparation for its commissioning Oct. 6, 2012. The new destroyer honors the late Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat as leader of a four-man reconnaissance team in Afghanistan. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. #murph (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Swanson/Released)

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