Happy Birthday America!

United States Declaration of Independence
Image via Wikipedia

  

The New Colossus

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

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 world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “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!”

 

(Emma Lazarus)

 

      I know that you probably saw these images and words a thousand times. I know that is nothing new. But I can imagine the amazement and the enchantment in the spirit of the poor immigrant who arrived to the harbour for the first time, after a long and  troublesome journey through the Atlantic, and saw this solemn Lady there, in the horizon, lighting the way to Freedom. What a feeling…

      I was always fascinated by its extraordinary symbology, ever since I read, when I was a teenager, the books of the series Patricia, by Julie Campbell (why do the editions have different names from country to country?!), and here is what I learned:

      The Lady Liberty holds a torch in her right hand. I like to think that it lights the way to Freedom, but it goes a little further than that – it represents the knowledge, the forward-thinking. Go as far as you can, reach as high as you can. The rays of its crown are the symbols of the world, seven continents and seven seas. The number seven is magic in itself and has a powerful influence throughout the History.  The crown has twenty five windows – the twenty five gemstones we can find on Earth. 

      As I couldn’t find the list of these gemstones, I asked my son , who is an “expert” in Mineralogy, and he said : “Diamond, Ruby, Saphire, Rubelite, Verdelite, Jade, Emmerald, Agatha, Amethist, Opal, Aquamarine, Pirope, Lazurite, Zircon, Turquoise, Spinnel, Topaz, Iolite, Tanzanite, Charoite, Labradorite, Morganite, Bixbite, Andalusite, Rhodochrosite. The organic gemstones are Pearl and Amber.

      In her left hand, she holds the “tablet of the supreme architect”, which represents the Law and the Declaration of Independence. We can read in this tablet the inscription, in roman numbers, of the date July, 4, 1776. But what I really love about the statue of Liberty are the broken chains in her feet – the liberation from oppression, the end of slavery?…

      As I was looking for meanings, I read in the www.archives.gov a sentence which brings a lot of goodness to me: “The people of the United States are joined together, not by religion, race or genealogy, but by a shared  set of beliefs about Freedom.”

 

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