June 17, 1885 the statue called “Liberty Enlightening the World” came to America.
It was a gift from the people of France to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. In a 32 year time span 12 million immigrants were welcomed into New York harbor by the sight of “Lady Liberty”.
Before the boys and I left America to move to Germany was my very first viewing. Mr. Right’s brother took the boys and I. We were in New Jersey and he drove to a
special park. (side note: while in the park, a helicopter landed and the Governor of New Jersey hopped out and jumped into a waiting limousine, so the boys were over the moon thrilled and impressed with that.)
My brother in law is an old crusty retired 30+ year Army man. He drives a BIG truck. I made him look away while I hiked up my floral jean skirt just so I could climb in. It was worth it. So worth it. We came around a huge grouping of trees and all of a sudden, my breath got sucked away. Instantly. There she was. HUGE and mighty and impressive. A true lady. Oh my goodness, I can feel the lump in my throat again as I type. Sure the boys were impressed 7 and 9 years old. However, they were not quiet and they did not get goosebumps and they didn’t look into the eyes of their Uncle. Oh yeah, Army men don’t cry. They just pull themselves together more and straighten their clothes and start talking about historical facts. They clear their throats, a lot.
My brother in law is the best. He is smart and strong and powerful and kind and funny and thoughtful. He is a mans man. I respect everything about him. He is one of the best husbands and fathers I know. He is generous with things and deed. I was the lucky lady that day. He gave me a shared moment with him.
…and you thought the story was over? Once in Europe, Mr. Right took over the tour director duties. We explored and traveled and toured everywhere. While in Paris, Mr. Right took us to the Seine River. There is a replica of Lady Liberty. She stands on Swan Ally Island in the middle of the Seine River near the Grenelle Bridge. I know the name of the bridge because I was the navigator that trip. Mr. Right reminded us that we would soon go back to America and the real Lady would welcome us home. We would be able to see her out our airplane window. Yes, traveling is wonderful and amazing and we are super lucky and blessed to get to see so much, but sometimes every one misses home. The good old USA.
…and you thought the story was over? Our plane was inching closer to America. Some people ahead of us were spraying “duty free” perfume. Our oldest said out loud, that it might not be a good idea. His brother might get sick. Out of the mouths of babes. All at once, bag in hand son number two started. The plane was landing, EVERYONE cheers coming into America and touchdown, applause, applause. Bag number two in use. However, through all of that, THERE SHE WAS. She was standing steadfast, her arms open to welcome us home. Oh man, there is nothing like it. You somehow feel safe again. Somehow, you feel like you belong. You are so glad to see “someone” you know.
….and yes, I neatly folded said air sick bags under my seat. We gathered bags and blankets and games and back packs and stood and stretched after a very, very long flight with two boys. We slowly made our way up the isle.
Today, I will remember and reflect upon Lady Liberty. Pure strength and grace.
She sent us on our way, encouraged us while away and welcomed us back to Home Sweet Home.