130 years ago today, the Statue of Liberty was officially unveiled and opened to the public in New York Harbor. A gift to the United States from the people of France, the statue was envisioned by a French professor who wanted to honor the American Revolution and also spark a democratic movement in France. The sculpture, officially named Liberty Enlightening the World, is a robed female figure representing Libertas, a Roman goddess, who holds a tablet inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence—July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet symbolizing a move away from slavery. Often called “Lady Liberty”, it was a welcoming sight to thousands of immigrants arriving from abroad. HERE are 4 fun facts… (1886)
- The statue originally was used until 1901 as a lighthouse, to signal boats up to 24 miles away.
- On D-Day in 1944, the crown flashed the Morse code equivalent (dot-dot-dot-dash) of “V” for victory by the Allied Forces.
- The statues is believed to be struck by lightning an average of 600 times each year.
- On the morning of the dedication, a parade was held in New York City, and as the parade passed the New York Stock Exchange, traders threw ticker tape from the windows, beginning the New York tradition of the ticker-tape parade. (Photo above by David Paul Ohmer, CC)
More Good News on this Date:
- Thomas Edison applied for his first patent, an electrical vote recorder (1868)
- New Yorkers spontaneously invented a ticker-tape parade as office workers threw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty was dedicated (1886)
- Czechoslovakia was granted independence from Austria-Hungary (1918)
- The Alaska (AlCan) Highway was completed through Canada and Alaska (1942)
- The world breathed a sigh of relief as the Cuban missile crisis ended with Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev agreeing to dismantle his missiles in Cuba, responding to President Kennedy’s naval blockade and diplomatic pressure (1962)
- Cristina Fernandez became the first woman elected President of Argentina (2007)
And, on this day in 1965, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri was completed. Clad in stainless steel and standing 630-feet high, it is the tallest monument in the Western Hemisphere. The arch sits on the west bank of the Mississippi River as a tribute to the great westward explorers, Lewis and Clark, and other pioneers who began treks in St. Louis. The architect, Eero Saarinen, designed the arch to sway a full 18 inches, with a hollow interior where four million tourists could visit every year and gaze through high windows above the city… Watch a clip. (click to enlarge photo by Daniel Schwen, CC)