Contemplating Ancestors at Statue of Liberty

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StatueOfLiberty1With an estimated $59 million damage to the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Museum during Hurricane Sandy, re-opening dates are not yet determined. TMOM Christine Tibbetts shares a bittersweet portion of her NATJA award-winning newspaper story written pre-hurricane so families can anticipate future visits.

Lady Liberty recently celebrated her 125th birthday, nine years younger than my dad’s mother Emilie, born in 1878.

That matters to a traveling mom since my grandmother arrived in America at Ellis Island.

The Statue of Liberty has a Facebook page and Twitter account, and she’s in the midst of a big renovation to change the way we visit.

Autumn of 2012 had been the anticipated re-opening (pre Hurricane Sandy) but walking around her was still stirring.

StatueOfLiberty3Meaningful moments to observe in ourselves, and others, when names are found on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor. TMOM Christine Tibbetts found her grandparents Joseph and Emilie.

NATJA AwardThis is one of three stories adapted from an award-winning newspaper feature by TMOM Christine Tibbetts experienced and published before Hurricane Sandy caused massive damage. The others are: Living History at Ellis Island and Finding Grandmother at Ellis Island.

When It Reopens

When possible again, tell someone at home to check you out on her National Park Service web page; the Statue of Liberty is a modern girl with web cams in her crown—cameras that can be operated by any of us with computer remote control.

When she reopens, head up the 354 stairs to her crown. Up to 240 visitors will be allowed, and Supervisory Park Ranger Dennis Mulligan anticipates advance reservations of three to six months might be needed.

Three thousand people will be able to enter her granite pedestal each day.

She’s a popular woman now but that wasn’t always the case. National Park Service staff tell well-researched stories.

StatueOfLiberty2When the Statue of Liberty reopens, her massive 
granite pedestal will lead the way to 354 steps to her crown.

She was a gift, with the French sculptor, donors and supporters wanting to celebrate friendship, the emergence of post-Civil War America and the abolition of slavery. 

The Statue of Liberty is loaded with symbols and her flowing copper robes are as thin as two pennies placed side by side.

Americans balked about raising funds to build her pedestal and she languished in cartons on the island.  Children responding to stories by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer jump-started the cash flow, with each donor seeing his or her name on the front page of “The World.”

Today, children still have lots of ways to engage with the Statue of Liberty, thanks to National Park Service Junior Ranger activities. Check in at the Visitor Information Centers on each island.

Blended Family Mom is the TMOM moniker for Christine Tibbetts – birth mother of two boys, stepmother of three more and a girl: all grown. This story is one of three portions of her award-winning newspaper destination feature, receiving a second-place silver award from the North American Travel Journalists Association.

Top photo: No skyline like this for the people arriving in America. Contemplate them from the ferry.