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On my visit to Manhattan
in April of last year, it was important for me to capture an image of Lady Liberty. We boarded a ferry during cold, wet, and windy weather and sat on the top deck waiting to get within shooting range. The closer we got, the weather cleared, and the more spectacular the lady looked. I was impressed with the details, some of which I'd never noticed, or had forgotten.
The folds of her garment, the lines of her hair, her fingernails, and her feet.
She has a rather calm and impassive look to her face as she gazes down upon us; a watchful look.
Around her head is a crown with seven rays, symbolizing the seven continents.
In her left hand she cradles a tablet on which is written the date of our independence, July 4, 1716. Raised above her head in her right hand, a lit torch that symbolizes enlightenment for us all.
Around her left foot lies broken chains, symbolizing freedom from tyranny and enslavement. Her right foot is raised, indicating our moving forward.
It seems she has a lot to say in each element of design. But these details fall under the idea of liberty itself. What, exactly, is liberty? We like to make the term personal, but we have a responsibility, in our liberty, to protect the liberty of others as well. I like what Thomas Jefferson wrote Isaac Tiffany in 1819, "...But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."
So I see, in this monument, a reminder for us to be careful to extend liberty to others through our actions. As we were given liberty, we give to others.