No visit to New York City is complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I had decided to do both in one day along with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, for a jam-packed Saturday filled with history, culture and emotions. I began my morning with a tour of our Lady Liberty followed by a visit to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. If I had known how much fascinating information was available in all these three attractions, I would have spread out my visits over the course of two full days. I was stunned to discover how much I was moved and interested in discovering my own heritage after touring the fabulous Ellis Island Immigration Museum. I could have spent at least four hours there but alas I only had two.
I have always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. Although I’ve seen many monuments from around the world – such as Paris’ beloved Eiffel Tour, India’s Taj Mahal and Beijing’s Forbidden City – I had never quite made it to the Statue of Liberty, the symbol of freedom and the representation of American ideals.
I have been to New York City many times before, however, every time I was there the timing was never quite right and I had never had the chance to see Liberty. It felt just plain odd and somewhat embarrassing that as a 42-year-old world traveler, I had never seen America’s most iconic symbol.
When I knew I was heading back to New York again for a conference, I made special plans to fly in a day early and put my regrets about not seeing the Statue of Liberty behind me. Little did I know that seeing Liberty, Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum all in one day under the continual threat of growing terrorism, would be an emotionally-charged experience that I would never forget.
Hundreds of years after Liberty arrived, her symbol of freedom remains, perhaps even stronger and more insistent than before.