Lady Liberty: The New Colossus

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

At the feet of the Statue of Liberty lies a broken chain. And beneath that is an inscription, a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus. Written in 1883, the piece was titled "The New Colossus." The statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France. They called her La Liberté éclairant le monde: Liberty Enlightening the World. She is our symbol of freedom. She is the first sight for many immigrants coming to their new home. You've made it.

Many of us know she's there, we use her as the American icon, but who she is and what she stands for, we might not know. Then more than ever we need a primer on Lady Liberty, to the principles of the United States of America, and to the virtues for which she stands.

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!’

She stands to teach the world what it means to be free. That's why she stands at the foot of America. To greet those who come, to give them hope, and to light their way.

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