I lift my lamp beside the golden door….

| July 4, 2020


Statue of Liberty, New York

Photo by Tom Coe

Happy Fourth of July. The USA is officially 244 years old today. at 2PM, signed into law at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

We’re a nation built of immigrants and descendants of immigrants. Despite our differences (of opinion and otherwise), we still manage to get along with each other most of the time.

A little history regarding the Statue of Liberty is worth your time today.

From the Foundation’s article: Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye first proposed the idea of a monument for the United States in 1865. Ten years later sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with 1876 in mind for completion, to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The Statue was named “Liberty Enlightening the World” and was a joint effort between America and France.

It was agreed 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. – article

The complete history is here: https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/statue-history#:~:text=Ten%20years%20later%20sculptor%20Frederic,effort%20between%20America%20and%20France.

For some reason, there are people who think that giant copper statue on Ellis Island should be destroyed. It goes back over 100 years, so we’ll look backward into history, starting with the most recent attempt in 2017, with the following story which was published in 2018. It is still good: ISIS participants planned to blow up the Statue of Liberty with pressure cooker bombs.

From the article: The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) planned to attack the Statue of Liberty in New York City with pressure cooker bombs, it has been revealed.

Munther Omar Saleh, 21, and Fareed Mumuni, 22, both from New York, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to support ISIS and plotting a bomb blast in the city in February 2017, but new details of their plot have come to light.

Court filings released ahead of the sentencing of Saleh and Mumuni next month show that they had received instructions on how to build a pressure cooker bomb from an English ISIS operative, and that the pair’s targets included the Statue of Liberty and Times Square.


“i [sic] was considering that The statue of liberty has a very weak point in its lower back and its tilting forward, if i can get a few pressure cooker bombs to hit the weak point, i think it will fall face down,” Saleh wrote in his notes, according to the documents.

“Or we can hit times square which would be easier, but if i can get more akhs [brothers], we can perform simultaneous attacks all around NYC.”

Both men were arrested in 2015 and their plot was ultimately foiled. Upon arrest, the pair ran at an unmarked FBI vehicle with knives. Saleh faces up to 56 years in prison at the sentencing that begins on February 8.

A key figure in the plot was Australian jihadi Neil Prakash, one of the country’s most dangerous militants, who remains in Turkish custody. Prakash was involved in the verification of an undercover FBI agent as a member of the extremist group. – Newsweek article

I”m not sure how much damage those geniuses thought they might do with pressure cookers. The statue is sheathed in copper plates, two layers of sheeting being just slightly less than the thickness of a Lincoln penny, but the total weight of the sheath alone is ++25 tons. The copper sheath is riveted to a structure of girders and grids that provide stability and strength. It doesn’t even sway in the wind, and yes, Lady Liberty even withstood Hurricane Sandy a few years back (October 2012) that panicked NYC’s then mayor (who threatened to arrest anyone found outside a building), and flooded Battery Park, devastated Long Island, and was followed by a very bad, very cold early snowstorm.

It seems that trying to get rid of Lady Liberty just doesn’t work quite as well as the plotters think it will. The next bunch of twits were four guys who wanted to blow up the statue.  In 1965, these four people got together to decide how they’d bring down that massive copper symbol without getting crushed under it.  https://www.nytimes.com/1965/02/17/archives/4-held-in-plot-to-blast-statue-of-liberty-liberty-bell-and.html

The NYT article is behind a paywall, but you get the drift. (NYT is probably getting a little desperate for cash. They’re also firing their male editors. Go figure.)

That attempt, which failed, was preceded in an attempt by German spies to do the same thing in 1916, but that didn’t work out too well, either. Despite the TNT they had with them and the ease of access, what they blew up instead was about 100 yards of Black Tom Island warehousing. This story is rather fascinating, partly because the German government sent its top spy to run the project, and partly because it failed completely.


From the article: If a trip to the Statue of Liberty is part of your Independence Day plans, you might find yourself hiking up a long spiral staircase to the highest point that the public may access.

That point will be the crown — not, as some might think, the fabled torch.

At the end of July, that part of the famous national monument will have been off-limits for 100 years. It was closed to visitors in 1916 because of an act of sabotage that some historians say was the work of the country’s first major foreign terror cell.

The explosion on Black Tom Island, in New York Harbor at Jersey City, jolted millions from their beds and broke windows all over the region — about a million dollars worth of shattered glass. Its shock waves, as powerful as a magnitude-5.5 earthquake, were felt as far away as Philadelphia. Property damages reached an estimated $20 million (around $500 million today) and killed at least five people, including a police chief and a 10-week-old boy who was jolted out of his crib by the blast. The actual death toll, however, will never be known. Housing barges floated near the island, and people may have vanished in the inferno.

Flying debris ripped into the Statue of Liberty and popped rivets in the raised arm that holds the torch of freedom, forever closing it to tourists.


Because World War I was ramping up and American munitions dealers were making a fortune selling ammo and explosives to Great Britain and European countries like France, the German government sent its master spy Captain Franz Von Rintelen to the USA to spy on us. Despite the detonation of all that explosive power stored in the warehouses on Black Tom Island (now a part of the federal park system), Lady Liberty was still intact, holding her torch as high as possible. Okay, a few rivets were blown out of the torch arm, but otherwise, she was still there.

Read the rest of that article. Lady Liberty is still there, a gift from the government of France, and the first thing 19th century immigrants would see from a ship’s decks when coming to America. I’m guessing that the people who want to take it down don’t understand the value of real freedom.

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. – Me and Bobby McGee/Fred Foster & Kris Kristofferson

Happy Birthday, America!

Category: America, Historical

Comments (16)

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  1. Sparks says:

    Thank you Ex. Happy Independence Day to you!

  2. Slow Joe says:

    Happy Independence Day!

    That picture of Lady Liberty surrounded by fog is amazing.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I saw several photos taken by various photographers and that was the one I liked the best. Those photos are available for use as long as the photographer gets credit.

      Thank, Joe, for the feedback.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    Great articles and postings on Lady Liberty M’Lady. On each of the numerous trips I had to make to Noo Yawk, I was never able to actually visit Her up close and personal…for reasons. Four of those times she was closed for either work being done or a perceived terror threat. It is one of the regrets that I have, and will have to settle for virtual visits now. No way, no how, hells to the nawh will I ever get back up there. It’s too bad that the entire quote on the bottom of Her is not emphasized enough, instead of just the “huddled masses” part.

    I did get to the top of Mr. Eiffel’s Tower in Gay Paree (can we still say THAT) way back yonder. One of the very few Parisians/Frenchies that I had ever met that actually liked American GIs. He happened to be a Black Algerian French Dude whose Papa had been in the Resistance during the Big War. He and his Mme Ami insisted we share a jug of wine and a loaf of bread with cheese with them at the top.

  4. Sapper3307 says:

    “Happy treason day.”
    Some guy with bad teeth and a crown

  5. 2banana says:

    There is no “law” in it. It is a set of grievances justifying declaring independence and rebellion.

    “Happy Fourth of July. The USA is officially 244 years old today. at 2PM, signed into law at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.”

  6. Friend says:

    My papa cried as he saw Ms. Liberty standing tall after the long journey. I didn’t understand why papa cried until years later.
    Gelukkige onafhankelijkh eldsdag
    AMERIKA…My adopted country…

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      On behalf of all my immigrant ancestors, stretching back some centuries, thank you and right back at you!

  7. NEC338x says:

    Six years until our sestercentennial. I pray the Lord will allow us to make it.

    • Slow Joe says:

      Dude, don’t make me google words.
      I don’t speak Englesse.

      Sistercentenial sounds like some depraved thing only people in San Fran do.

  8. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    A special wish of “Happy Independence Day” to those who chose to join Team USA.

  9. David says:

    Technically independence was declared July 2, but the Declaration was presented on the 4th. (It was not completely signed until August).

    Black Tom Island? How has that escaped the protests over its name? (and a quick web search cays it was indeed named for a “dark skinned fisherman’)

  10. Skyjumper says:

    In 1909 my maternal grandpa (age 25) departed from Bohemia to the USA on the German passenger liner Kronprinz Wilhelm and landed in New York on April 27th.

    In 1913 my maternal grandma departed from Bohemia to the USA on the S.S. George Washington and landed in New York on October 18th.

    Eventually they both found their way to a small city in Cheesehead-Land, met, married and had eventually 13 children ( 6 boys/7 girls). They also became American citizens during the time frame.

    All of the boys served in WWII covering all the service branches.

    My Ma told me, that while Grandpa was proud of his German/Czech heritage, he was extremely proud of being an American.

    All have passed, but will always be remembered.

  11. USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

    Thought this was interesting:

    “Golden Door,” in the poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus represents a few meanings in relation to the subject matter of the sonnet. One meaning is that those who have suffered poverty and hunger in their respective homelands because of oppression now have a golden door of real opportunity opened to them in the land of the free (the United States of America) where they have now arrived. The golden door is a beacon of promise beckoning immigrants to embrace a new land and all it offers.”

    “Another meaning of the golden door is that anything worthwhile is worth fighting and working hard for, and gold is emblematic of something of worth. Therefore, the golden door represents all that is right and proper about America. The opportunity that America affords must be sought diligently and when success is attained it must be cherished like gold – the gold of the golden door that is the entrance into a free land that rewards hard work.”

    “Another meaning of the golden door is that it is like the pearl of great price. When one sees the value of coming to America and beginning a new life, it is often necessary to give up the ties and baggage of a past life in another country where one suffered hardship and even deprivation and humiliation. The golden door represents forsaking much to attain that great pearl – freedom in a land that respects individual freedom and promotes it diligently.”

    “One other meaning of the golden door is that it represents a new way of thinking. It represents a changed mindset in the person who has taken the initiative to try a new land and new way of life. The golden door can represent this person’s optimistic view of what life in a free land is all about. The golden door is symbolic of the hope in the person’s mind, which causes him or her to take brave action to change their destiny.”