“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands.
One nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.”

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born.  July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.  Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the “land of the free and the home of the brave” so they can begin their American Dream.

Image from Fact Of The Day Website

The United States is truly a diverse nation that is made up of dynamic people.  Every year on July 4, Americans celebrate that FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE with family gatherings, barbecues, picnics.  With such growing technology we are learning through the internet about and communicating with people of different nations, with different languages and different races throughout the whole world while bringing the world closer with understanding and knowledge can only benefit all nations.

Let’s us never forget the men and women who are fighting to protect OUR HONOR, OUR FREEDOM AND OUR COUNTRY!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!

 

The “New Colossus” The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

The New Colossus
Famous Poem by
Emma Lazarus in 1883
statue dedicated in 1886

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!”

A Short Story “Coming to America”

Just to add my own personal story, one that I am very proud of;

I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty when my parents, my brother and I came to America from Germany on April 30, 1958, on a ship called the “SS Berlin”. We arrived in New York in the late afternoon and I remember standing on the pier looking back at the statue which appeared smaller than when we first passed it, just a few hours earlier. I also remember taking a taxi to our first residence in Manhattan in a neighborhood I learned later was called “The Bowery”. It was a small apartment that our sponsors, The Lutheran Church of America” had procured for us.

The Bowery in 1958 was not as it is today. There was widespread and open use of alcohol in that neighborhood and I remember having to step over a man who was sleeping it off on the steps of the door to our building. …a bit scary for a child not even 9 years old. My parents worked day and night for 4 months to get us out of there and into a better apartment.

What I remember of the day we came to America is that I was really scared being in a different country and not speaking any English.  By the time I started school, however, I already knew some sentences which made it easier for me to make friends. Just 5 years later, I am proud to say we became Americans when we received our citizenship in 1963

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was a French sculptor born in Alsace. He created many monumental sculptures, his most famous work was the Statue of Liberty. The statue is constructed of copper sheets which are assembled on a framework of steel supports designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. For transit to America, the figure was disassembled into 350 pieces and packed in 214 crates. Four months later, it was reassembled on Bedloe’s Island (renamed Liberty Island in 1956). On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty before thousands of spectators. Since the 1892 opening of nearby Ellis Island Immigration Station, Bartholdi’s Liberty has welcomed more than 12,000,000 immigrants to America. Emma Lazarus’s famous lines engraved on the statue’s pedestal are linked to our conception of the statue Americans call “Lady Liberty”:

Frederic Bartholdi’s design patent for the Statue of Liberty

In 1865 a young French sculptor named Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi went to a banquet near the town of Versailles, where he struck up a conversation with Edouard de Laboulaye, a prominent historian. De Laboulaye, a great admirer of the United States, observed that the country’s centennial was approaching in 1876. He thought it would be a good idea for France to present America with a gift to commemorate the occasion. Bartholdi proposed a giant statue of some kind and thought about it for the next six years. The Statue was a joint effort between America and France and it was agreed upon that the American people were to build the pedestal, and the French people were responsible for the Statue and its assembly here in the United States. However, lack of funds was a problem on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In France, public fees, various forms of entertainment, and a lottery were among the methods used to raise funds. In the United States, benefit theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions and prize fights assisted in providing needed funds.

Bartholdi went back to work. He founded a group called the Franco-American Union, comprised of French and American supporters, to help raise money for the statue. He also recruited Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, soon to become famous for the Eiffel Tower, to design the steel and iron framework to hold the statue up.

In the United States, things were harder. There was some enthusiasm, but not as much as in France. It was, after all, a French statue  and not everyone was sure the country needed a French statue, even for free. The U.S. Congress did vote unanimously to accept the gift from France, but it didn’t provide any funding for the pedestal, and neither did the city of New York. Neither did the state.

By now, the Statue of Liberty’s right hand and torch were finished, so Bartholdi shipped it to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition and had it put on display. For a fee of 50¢, visitors could climb a 30-foot steel ladder up the side of the hand and stand on the balcony surrounding the torch. Two years later the statue’s head was displayed in a similar fashion in Paris, giving people a chance to climb up into the head and peek out from the windows in the crown. But while events like these generated a lot of enthusiasm, they didn’t raise as much money as Bartholdi hoped for.

In 1883 the U.S. Congress voted down a fresh attempt to provide $100,000 toward the cost of the pedestal; the vote so outraged Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, that he launched a campaign in the pages of his newspaper to raise the money.

“The Bartholdi statue will soon be on its way to enlighten the world,” he told his readers, “more appropriate would be the gift of a statue of parsimony than a statue of liberty, if this is the appreciation we show of a friendly nation’s sentiment and generosity.” After two months of non-stop haranguing, he managed to raise exactly $135.75 of the $200,000 needed to build the pedestal.

By now the centennial was only two years away. It was obvious that the huge statue couldn’t be designed, financed, built, shipped, and installed on Bedloe’s Island in time for the big celebration. But Bartholdi kept going anyway.

Raising the $400,000 he estimated was needed to build the statue in France wasn’t easy. Work stopped frequently when cash ran out, and Bartholdi and his craftspeople missed deadline after deadline. Then in 1880 the Franco-American Union came up with the idea of holding a “Liberty” lottery to raise funds. That did the trick.

NOTHING TO STAND ON

In June of 1884, work on the statue itself was finished. Bartholdi had erected it in a courtyard next to his studio in Paris. The original plan had been to dismantle it as soon as it was completed, pack it into shipping crates, and send it to the United States, where it would be installed atop the pedestal on Bedloe’s Island, but the pedestal wasn’t even close to being finished. So Bartholdi left the statue standing in the courtyard.Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

Construction of Statue

COMING TO AMERICA By 1871, Bartholdi had most of the details worked out in his mind. The American monument would be a colossal statue of a woman called “Liberty Enlightening the World.” It would be paid for by the French people, and the pedestal that it stood on would be financed and built by the Americans.

Did you know?

the Statue of Liberty was built to withstand hurricane-force winds with copper skin less than two pennies thick? And that’s not all you may not know about this American icon.

It is alledged that Miss Liberty of Statue-of-Liberty fame wasn’t always imagined as the scowling, linebacker-throated Midwestern matron of steely spiky Germanic stock that she is today. She was supposed to look like an Arab peasant, robed in the folds of Muslim precepts. She wasn’t even supposed to be eternally standing at the entrance of New York Harbor, welcoming new arrivals to the New World. She was supposed to be the welcome ma’am at the entrance of the Suez Canal in Egypt, that her name was supposed to be either Egypt or Progress, and that the flame she was brandishing was to symbolize the light she was bringing to Asia, which had claims to newness all its own.

Illustration from U.S. Patent D11023, Filed Jan 2, 1870 by Bartholdi

Lighting the Way to Asia

All this from the imaginative scruffles of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the Alsatian-French sculptor who’d fallen in love with his own Orientalist fantasies about the Middle East after a trip to Egypt’s Luxor spreads in 1855. He liked Egypt’s colossal sculptures, those “granite beings of imperturpable majesty” with their eyes seemingly “fixed on the limitless future.” He liked just as much the then-fashionable notions of Europeans thinking themselves the “Orient”‘s best thing since unsliced baklava. Bartholdi returned to Egypt in 1869 with the blueprints for a toga-draped giant of a woman who’d double-up as a lighthouse at the entrance of the Suez Canal, which opened that year to fanfare and (British and French) stockholders’ delight.

The Suez Canal may have been in Egypt. But Egypt wasn’t reaping its monetary benefits. The American Civil War had done wonders for Egyptian wealth thanks to the blockade of Southern cotton, which turned Egyptian cotton into gold. But the price of cotton crashed after the Civil War and so did Egypt’s economy. Suez revenue could have picked up the slack. Instead, it went into the pockets of European investors (until Egypt’s Gama Abdel Nasser nationalized the waterway in 1956, to the disingenuous fury of France and Britain).

From Lady Egypt to Lady Liberty

As Bartholdi was sketching one likeness of his great statue after another, it became apparent that his plan would never get Egypt’s financing. Bartholdi was crushed. He sailed to New York. And there, as his ship was entering New York Harbor, he saw Bedloe’s Island, deserted, oval-shaped, perfectly positioned to bear his creation. She wouldn’t be Egypt. But she’d still be Barthold’s. He worked out an arrangement with Gustav Eiffel to build the statue in 350 pieces in Paris, for the French government to pay for the statue (that was back when French and Americans had more respect than reproach for each other), and with American donors to pay for the 89-foot pedestal. Bartholdi’s goal was to have the dedication coincide with the centennial of the American Revolution, somewhere around July 4, 1876.

It happened a bit later, on Oct. 28, 1886, with a military, naval and civic parade in Manhattan, ending at the Battery at the tip of the island, with Gen. Charles P. Stone, who as the statue’s American engineer, was essentially its midwife, was the parade’s grand marshal. She was no longer an Egyptian woman. She was “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

New York Inaugurates Liberty

The weather did not cooperate. The rain was so bad that a New York Times editorioal called it “almost a national misfortune” that “robbed the pageant of much of its effect.” Not that U.S. President Grover Cleveland was going to miss a chance to make himself slightly immortal by association with Lady Liberty as he accepted “this grand and imposing work of art,” though in words of granite neither grand nor imposing: “This token of the affection and consideration of the people of France assures us that in our efforts to commend to mankind a government resting upon popular will, we still have beyond the American continent a steadfast ally, while it also demonstrates the kinship of the republic.” At that point the historical record notes that there were loud cheers, not least those wondering who wrote that stuff.

But Cleveland got a bit more colorful in his next salvo: “We are not here today to bow before the representative of a fierce and warlike god, filled with wrath and vengeance, but instead, we contemplate our own peaceful deity keeping watch before the open gates of America.” Well, the battleship Tennessee’s warlike batteries, which had just boomed, notwithstanding. “Instead of grasping in her hands the thunderbolts of terror and of death, she holds aloft the light that illumines the way to man’s enfranchisement.”  Liberty’s light, he concluded, “shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and men’s oppression until liberty shall enlighten the world.”

One last irony: Bedloe’s Island was not officially renamed until many years later, when it became Liberty Island. The year? 1956.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be seen from the Lower Manhattan Tour given by FREE TOURS BY FOOT!

Read More on the Suez Canal, Where Lady liberty Was Originally to Stand

Bedloe’s Island  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Island

Wiki Link  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty

the National Park Service  http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

PBS Timeline  http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/statueofliberty/timeline/

Link to Canal http://middleeast.about.com/od/middleeast101/a/statue-of-liberty-egypt.htm

 

 

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Walking Tours New York City!

Free Tours by Foot is pleased to present the only Free, tip based tours of New York City. These interesting and informative tours will take you through many of Manhattan’s most famous neighborhoods.

USA’s first capital city, a center of global finance and a tribute to over two centuries of immigration and the American experience — New York City’s history is the history of America.  And on every step of our tours, our expert guides – part professors, part performers – will explain why.

Always interesting, always intimate. We make history fun for everyone!  You can find all of these tours below by clicking the link  – Most of these are 2 hour tours.  All In One is a 6 hour tour

Lower Manhattan Walking Tour

It is here, as much as anywhere, where American history started.  It’s where the first US Congress assembled and produced the Bill of Rights and where President George Washington took his first oath of office. It’s here where the world’s most important stock exchange and one of the most famous bridges stand. And it is here where an unspeakable tragedy took place and where a rebirth is underway.    Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Greenwich Village Walking Tour

is among Manhattan’s most desirable and expensive residential neighboorhoods.  It’s history, however, betrays it’s monied status.  The Village, with it’s quiet, shaded streets, lined with lovely brick and brownstone townhouses, was once the incubating ground of artistic, social and political movements that have helped shape US history.  From the Beats to the Folk Movement, from workers’ rights to gay rights, the Village has often been the center of New York and America’s social movements. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour

Arguably the world’s most valuable, busiest and most crowded pieces of real estate, Midtown Manhattan is what most visitors think of when they think of New York City. Home to some of the city’s most iconic architecture, from Gothic to Post-Modern and from Beaux-Arts to Art Deco (lots of Art Deco). it’s not difficult to understand why. But just behind the massive facades, lie fascinating stories just waiting to be unveiled. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Historic District Walking Tour

A relaxing stroll through SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown. Join us as we gawk at the Fashionistas and cast iron buildings of Soho, visit New York’s and America’s first “pizzeria”, famous mafia locations, or take a stab at bargaining with a street vendor in Chinatown. This approximately 2 hour tour will cover a range of topics and give you the opportunity to better understand these neighborhoods and to better orient yourself in case you choose to return on your own.  Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Central Park Walking Tour

This tour explores the southern half of Central Park, starting from the southeast corner at Grand Army Plaza. We will wander the winding pedestrian paths passing a pond, rocky outcrops, bridges, open fields and skyline views — all great photo opportunities. The tour will guide you down “The Mall”, a promenade lined with statues of famous literary greats, to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, the main formal element of the park’s original design. The tour will also include a stop in Strawberry Fields, a living tribute to John Lennon, and will end in front of the Dakota Hotel, where the great Beatles’s life was tragically ended. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

All-In-One Walking Tour

Don’t have enough time to take all of our tours? Prefer to experience Manhattan with a smaller group, but a private booking is out of reach?  Then consider our All-in-One New York Tour. This tour utilizes your feet and the New York City Subway* to transport you from Lower Manhattan, the birthplace of New York, through Wall St and the Financial District, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown and Midtown Manhattan.

The All-in-One (AIO) Tour covers much of the content covered in several of our separate tours. Reservations are requested, in order to help us keep the ratio of guests to guide managable, in order that each guest gets ample time with the guide. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Private New York Sightseeing Tours

Whether you represent a school, a business, or a large family, our tours are perfect for any group visit. We can customize each tour depending on our audience. Our guides can go anywhere in New York City and beyond. Why choose us for your private tour of New York City?  Because we are fun! We employ only the best, brightest and most energetic tour guides in the city.   We’re amongst the highest rated tour companies on Tripadvisor for a reason — we’re great at what we do!

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Philadelphia, PA We have only one tour

All the instructions for each tour will be on the site by going to Free Tours By Foot If you have any questions about the tours, you can email your questions here at Walking Tour Advisor or leave a comment.  We will respond promptly.  We will be posting more information!

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