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!
View the Statue of Liberty live via EarthCam here.
Update: Appropriate ways to celebrate here and here, or read this here.
Liberty Enlightening the World, commonly known as the Statue of Liberty, stands at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor as a welcome to all: returning Americans, visitors, and immigrants alike.
The goddess of liberty holds a torch in her right hand and a tablet in her left. The tablet shows the caption "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI", the date of the Declaration of Independence. One of her feet stands on chains. The seven spikes in her crown represent the seven seas or seven continents.
French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with the year 1876 in mind for completion to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.
The idea for the commemorative gift grew out of the political turmoil which was shaking France at the time. The French Third Republic was still considered as a "temporary" arrangement by many, who wished a return to monarchism, or to some form of constitutional dictatorship which they had known under Bonaparte.
The idea of giving a colossal representation of republican virtues to a "sister" republic across the sea served as a focus for the republican cause against other political opponents.
The Statue was completed in France in July, 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. On October 28, 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by U.S. President Grover Cleveland took place in front of thousands of spectators.