“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
These are familiar words from the famous poem about the Statue of Liberty. When’s the last time you read the poem in its entirety? Today is a great time to do so, don’t you think? Here it is:
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!”
November 2, 1883
The “Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was gifted to the United States by the nation of France in 1885 as a symbol of freedom and fraternity. For over 130 years she has held a beacon high in New York Harbor. Facing out toward the Atlantic, she reminds those behind and before her: this is a free land.
“The New Colossus” is a famous poem putting words in Lady Liberty’s mouth that continue to resound around the world. Inspired by her work with Russian Jewish immigrants and her own family’s immigration from Portugal, 35-year-old Emma Lazarus wrote this poem for an auction raising funds for the pedestal the Statue of Liberty now sits upon.
Reading this poem today, what phrases stand out to you? Perhaps take a moment and read it through one more time, pausing to consider what being an American means to you and your neighbors.
These far-reaching words remind us the statue symbolizes not only freedom, but welcome.
Many of Weighting Comforts’ employees answered her call, fleeing their homeland in pursuit of a better life for their families. The more we listen to each others’ stories, the more meaningful the “Mother of Exiles” becomes. And the more honored we are to be a part of the welcome. It is not lost on me that a Mighty Woman with a torch is welcoming people here to the US.
We are also reminded of the sacrifice so many have made to provide for and defend the freedoms we enjoy every day. To all our veterans and active military, a huge THANK YOU from our families to yours!
This 4th of July, we are deeply grateful for the freedoms America provides for us all.
Blog post from Weighting Comforts (https://weightingcomforts.com/blogs/weighting-comforts/the-statue-of-liberty-a-symbol-of-freedom-and-welcome)
Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash