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NPS Centennial: American Pride at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

 
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The first time I viewed the Statue of Liberty, I was sailing into New York harbor on my way to Montauk, NY. That was nearly three decades ago. We slipped beneath the Verrazano Bridge and there she was. I was awestruck. The next occasion was a fly over nearly a decade later, but the same feeling was evoked. However, it wasn’t until June of this year that I actually visited Lady Liberty in person. I was again awestruck.

Liberty-JD-1.jpgI found that visiting the Statue of Liberty is powerful on two fronts. First, from a personal experience, it is gratifying to feel patriotic again amidst all the political turmoil and strife. I believe that every American feels, well, American in a non-partisan sense in the presence of Lady Liberty. Secondly, it’s amazing to watch the effect that visiting the statue has on foreign visitors and non-native-born Americans. It’s hard to tell who’s who, but a large number of enthusiastic visitors were either naturalized Americans from one of the many diasporas represented across the nation or were foreign visitors. Either way, everyone got a selfie with the Lady.

Liberty-JD-4.jpgAfter visiting the statue, the next stop is Ellis Island, the former first stop for nearly all immigrants from 1892 to 1954. It’s said that one in ten Americans can trace their ancestry back to an Ellis Island immigrant. In a way, the story of Ellis Island is the story of the building of America. Even during those times, immigration was often a contentious issue. Those who made it through Ellis Island found hope for a better life in a new world.

The Island is also a great story of preservation. Having fallen into complete disrepair by the 1980s, it has now been fully restored into one of the best history museums in the country.

Liberty-JD-3.jpgEach year, four million people visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can catch a ferry from either Battery Park in Manhattan, NYC or from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. The ferry approach offers great photo opportunities for both the statue and Ellis Island. Both the N.J and N.Y. ferries visit the statue first, you may then tour Liberty Island at your leisure and catch a later ferry to Ellis Island. Just make certain that when you depart Ellis Island, you are on the correct ferry to either N.Y or N.J.

- J.D., Mast Store Home Office

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