The Statue of Liberty, an icon of hope, freedom and the American dream, is a must-see when visiting dazzling New York says Claire Ellis.

The Statue of Liberty, full name, Liberty Enlightening the World and affectionately known as Lady Liberty, has stood in place upon the 12 acres of Liberty Island for 125 years. Resplendent in her robes and crown, she was a gift from the French people in 1886 to celebrate their friendship forged during the American Revolution and to celebrate the centennial of their independence. Since then she has stood firm through time and become an icon of America, its progressive nature, its enlightenment and its dreams.

Every part of her represents an ideal, an aspect of America to show everyone who sees her, just what America stands for. The seven spikes on her crown represent the seven continents, the seven seas and the sun. Her torch stands for enlightenment, leading and illuminating the way to freedom. Her tablet shows the date when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and around her feet lie the broken chains of oppression and tyranny. She is liberty, she is hope and when people see her, they understand.

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Coming to America

To some, Lady Liberty was their first sight coming to America, welcoming them to a land of promise, of equality and freedom where they can be just who they dream to be. Immigrants from all over the world were inspired by her as they stepped off the boat onto American soil at Ellis Island. To believe that no dream is too big, no hope is lost and where everyone has a chance of hitting it big. Now, generations down the line, the families of those immigrants still look up to the Statue of Liberty as a beacon of hope, synonymous with the American identity and something people can get behind.

As an iconic symbol of hope in the Western world, she has also been used to portray the fall of man, of their dreams and of civilisation as they know it. In many films such as Planet of the ApesCloverfield and The Day After Tomorrow, she is depicted as buried, broken or destroyed and because she embodies the dream, when we see her in ruins it is especially poignant. For in her they see themselves, their hopes, their dreams and if she is in ruins, then they are too. She is an icon and a promise, protecting, watching and enlightening.

All New York holidays should include a visit to this beautiful monument to friendship and hope, for she is truly breathtaking.

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