Today, Americans are celebrating the nation's Independence Day. On July fourth, seventeen seventy-six, colonial leaders approved the final Declaration of Independence for the United States. And this year, the city of New York will also celebrate the opening of part of an important symbol of America that has been closed to the public for the past eight years.
The Statue of Liberty has stood in New York harbor for more than one hundred years. It was a gift from the people of France in eighteen eighty-four. Its full name is "Liberty Enlightening the World".
The Statue of Liberty is forty-six meters tall from its base. It is made mostly of copper. Throughout history, images of liberty have been represented as a woman. The statue is sometimes called "Lady Liberty."
The Statue of Liberty's face was created to look like the sculptor's mother. Her right arm holds a torch with a flame high in the air. Her left arm holds a tablet with the date of the Declaration of Independence -- July fourth, seventeen seventy-six. On her head she wears a crown of seven points. Each is meant to represent the light of freedom as it shines on the seven seas and seven continents of the world. Twenty-five windows in the crown represent gemstones found on Earth. A chain that represents oppression lies broken at her feet.
In nineteen oh three, a bronze plaque was placed on the inner wall of the statue's support structure or pedestal. On it are words from the poem "The New Colossus" written by Emma Lazarus in eighteen eighty-three. The plaque represents the statue's message of hope for people seeking freedom. These are some of its best known words:
"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!"
The United States and France have been friends and allies since the time of the American Revolution. France helped the American colonial armies defeat the British. The war officially ended in seventeen eighty-three. A few years later, the French rebelled against their king.
A French historian and political leader, Edouard-Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, had the idea for the statue. In eighteen sixty-five, he suggested that the French and the Americans build a monument together to celebrate freedom.
The Statue of Liberty became a symbol of hope for immigrants coming to the United States by ship from Europe. More than twelve million people passed the statue between eighteen ninety-two and nineteen fifty-four on their way to the immigration center on nearby Ellis Island.
More than forty percent of Americans have an ancestor who passed through Ellis Island. Through the years, millions of people continued to visit the Statue of Liberty. A trip to New York City did not seem complete without it.
Still, the statue was old and becoming dangerous for visitors. In nineteen eighty-two, President Ronald Reagan asked businessman Lee Iacocca to lead a campaign to repair it. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation raised about one hundred million dollars in private money to do the work. The repairs included replacing the torch and covering it with twenty-four carat gold. On July fourth, nineteen eighty-six, New York City celebrated a restored and re-opened Statue of Liberty.
Officials closed the Statue of Liberty following the terrorist attacks in New York on September eleventh, two thousand one. It remained closed until August, two thousand four. When it re-opened, visitors could only go onto the statue's pedestal. But the Statue continued to attract visitors-more than three million a year.
This year, on July fourth, visitors once again will be able to climb inside the statue all the way to the top. It is not an easy thing to do. More than three hundred fifty steps lead to Lady Liberty's crown. The National Park Service says it will limit the number of climbers to about two hundred a day. No more than ten people will be able to go up at one time. At that rate, officials estimate that more than one hundred thousand people will be able to climb to the top each year.
But if you want to visit the newly opened Statue of Liberty, you must do it within the next two years. That is because the National Park Service plans to close it again for more repairs. Officials say the improvements could take as long as two years. But they say the work will make it possible to safely double the number of visitors permitted inside.
Translated by Buasawan Simmala and Vannasone Keodara
ຟັງສຽງ ເປັນພາສາລາວໄດ້ ໂດຍການກົດປຸ່ມຢູ່ຂວາມືຂ້າງເທິງ