By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” so said “Lady Liberty” when she visited students from Fort Knox’s Macdonald and Walker Intermediate schools.
The well-known quote comes from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “New Colossus,” and is engraved on a plaque at the base of the statue.
Lady Liberty’s visit was part of the Next Great Americans Tour which is a theatrical performance where she takes students on a journey through history and introduces the Super Citizen Program to the students, according to the Liberty Learning Foundation.
The Liberty’s Legacy Super Citizen Program is an annual in-school program that focuses on educating third, fourth and fifth graders in American’s history and heritage while incorporating character building, financial literacy and career development components that the foundation believes are fundamental to the success of the youth and country.
With the Statue of Liberty as its focal point, the kit help educators teach core subjects that must be taught – along with soul-stirring, and too-often neglected, lessons of freedom, liberty and civic responsibility, according to the Liberty Learning Foundation.
This was Lady Liberty’s first visit to Knox and she was greeted to a thunderous applause. She explained to the students that her full name is Liberty and Lightening the World.
“Liberty means freedom,” explained Lady Liberty. “I’m a symbol of freedom in the United States of America.”
She said classrooms will join torch teams and honor real-life American heroes that they know. A replica of Lady Liberty from the iron when she was built in France will be given when the hero is honored.
“Heroes can be anybody you know,” she said. “Can be anybody you think is truly a super citizen.”
She pointed out that if the students were to visit her New York City she would look a little different.
“My mouth will be three feet long from one side to another,” she said. “Four and one-half feet long, that’s how long my nose will be top to bottom. Eight feet, that’s how long my finger will be.
“I’m going to be much bigger. My shoe size is 879 (and I’m) 111 feet tall from the ground to the top of my torch. (I have) 354 steps to my crown and 25 widows to my crown. My skeleton is made of iron and steel. (It was) designed by Alexandre Eiffel (who) also designed the Eiffel Tower. There is a miniature version of me in France by the Eiffel Tower.”
Lady Liberty pointed out that she was built in France and had to be shipped to the U.S. one piece at a time. She said she was put together like a big puzzle.
“I had to be shipped to America in 214 crates,” said Lady Liberty. “I was in (more than) 300 different pieces. On Oct. 28, 1886 (there was a) huge celebration to welcome me. My home is Liberty Island.”
She also recalled Jan. 1, 1892, the day the Ellis Island immigration station opened, which is very close to Liberty Island. She said immigrants would cry when they saw her.
Lady Liberty also said the Ellis Island Museum is the biggest immigration museum in the world. She told the students that, “Some of your ancestors may have visited me.”
As she departed the students were left to ponder some the words from “New Colossus,” which were written about Lady Liberty.
“… Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles, from her beacon-hand glows worldwide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. … Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”