After repairing damages from last year’s Hurricane Sandy, the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, New York reopens to the public today, most fittingly on USA’s Independence Day. See vintage black and white photos of one of the most recognized landmarks in the world as it appeared in LIFE’s June 26, 1944 issue.
Towering 300 feet tall from ground to torch, Liberty Enlightening the World was France’s most generous gift to America in 1886, cementing an alliance between the two nations with art and architecture. Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, Lady Liberty had a long journey to New York from Europe and has an equally long history from its conception in the 1860’s. And while the mammoth infrastructure is complex in its construction and rich in symbolism, what it stands for is truly something simple and ideally universal: freedom.
The Fourth of July, although it originated in the hot spirit of defiance and the powder smell of revolution, is a quiet holiday. In the small cities the crowds gather beneath bunting and flags to watch their parades. In the picnic grounds the orators sweat and strain to produce three cheers for liberty. Yet everywhere … the crowds are in shirtsleeves and cotton dresses, relaxed, having a good, long, easy day, taking their liberty for granted, a a little embarrassed by all the fancy talk. In the cool of the evening many Americans will express their unselfconscious patriotism in the thought, “This has been a pleasant day and this is a pleasant land.” For in early July, on the nation’s birthday, the land is at its best. (LIFE)
Happy Independence Day, USA!
You might also like:
- Today in History (1885) : The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York
- The Making of a Global Icon: Statue of Liberty Construction
- Lomography Day Trips: New York City, New York
Loving these historic time capsules? Then you might want to check out the rest of our Throwback Thursday entries!