Just in time for Independence Day, the French government is sending a “little sister” of Lady Liberty to Ellis Island, 135 years after the country initially sent the original national symbol to the United States as a gift.
The new monument has been displayed at the National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) in Paris since 2011.
“The statue symbolizes freedom and the light around all the world,” the general director of CNAM’s, Olivier Faron, told CNN. “We want to send a very simple message: Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment. We have to conserve and defend our friendship”.
The 2009 sculpture weighs more than 992 pounds and stands only 10 feet tall. It’s an identical reproduction of the original, which stands 151 feet tall upon the enormous base and portrays the Roman goddess Libertas.
On June 19, the “little sister” will be placed aboard a ship in Le Havre, France, and will arrive in New York on July 1. According to the news agency, it will be displayed for ten years in the French diplomat’s home in Washington, D.C.
Lady Liberty’s fully symbolic crown has seven spikes signifying sunlight stretching out over the world. Her tablet bears the year of America’s independence in Roman numbers as well as broken chains and shackles at its foot, a tribute to the country’s eradication of enslavement.
The 225-ton Statue of Liberty was planned in 1865 as a present to the newly reunified United States after the Civil War by French historian Édouard de Laboulaye. It took about ten years to complete.
The statue was designed by engineer Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. Because he died only four years into its creation, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the French civil expert who built the Eiffel Tower, completed it.
President Grover Cleveland inaugurated the Statue of Liberty in 1886 after it was handed to the United States and set upon an American-designed base on a small island in Upper New York Bay, known as Liberty Island. The copper has oxidized and left the statue green after nearly 20 years.
The Statue of Liberty is still one of the world ‘s best-known sights and an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.