Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Today’s The Writer’s Almanac gives us this entry:

It was on this day in 1886 that the Statue of Liberty was officially unveiled and opened to the public. It was gift from France intended to celebrate the two countries' shared love of freedom, shipped to the U.S. in pieces packed into 214 crates. Workers put it back together in New York. The day of the dedication was cold and rainy, but huge crowds came out for the celebration anyway. The statue was under veil, and the sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi was alone in the statue's crown, waiting for the signal to drop the veil. A boy down below was supposed to wave a white handkerchief at the end of the big speech. The boy accidentally waved his handkerchief before the speech was over and Bartholdi let the curtain drop, revealing the huge bronze lady, and gunshots rang out from all the ships in the harbor. The speaker, who had been boring everybody, just sat down.

That was interesting to me because I’ve written before about the Statue of Liberty, and written incorrectly. Where I got the nugget of knowledge that the statue was dedicated on the 18th I will never know, and how I ever remembered, three years later that there was something wrong with the dates, I will also never know. At any rate, she stands majestically up there in the harbor and I stand corrected down here.

I do wish I’d known before about the unveiling and the boring speaker. The details of the 1886 ceremony, like the details of the 1863 ceremony at Gettysburg, make it all a lot more interesting. 

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