Like many of the other icons we’ve discussed so far in class, the Statue of Liberty has an infinite number of meanings. As Dard wrote, “The thousands of transformations that the statue has undergone… demonstrate the remarkable adaptability of Liberty’s image…”
Hence, I chose two images with completely separate connotations. The first depicts Lady Liberty holding a cross, rather than a torch, in her right hand. The sign in front of her reads, “America Return to Christ.” I found this image off on Google, and I have never seen this specific church. However, I have seen this representation over and over again in different forms. This depiction of the Statue of Liberty epitomizes the state of politics in our country: a cross between Christianity and Democracy, two notions that Americans truly hold sacred. The implication in this image is that there is an irrevocable bond between religion and politics. With a scandal only two years ago that our president “might” be Muslim, elementary schoolers pledging allegiance to “one nation under God,” and politicians’ constant references to religion, it is clear that separation of church and state is a muddy issue- a notion that this image encapsulates, with a symbol of religion literally hand-in-hand with an American icon that “has been repeatedly linked…” to “…the spread of democracy.”
The second image is on a much lighter note. Last summer was my little sister’s first time seeing the Statue of Liberty, and she absolutely loved it. As Dard wrote, “Imagine the effect that this colossal structure… must have had on those arriving in New York Harbor…” While it is true we were coming from Manhattan, and had not “…lost or abandoned all that [we] had once had…”, the statue is truly an amazing sight. The meaning of icons can be lost after being featured on infinite numbers t-shirts and postcards, and in this way, they are kept alive by the many interpretations to which they are subjected. Obviously my little sister “neeeeeeeded” one of the headpieces, and throughout the rest of our trip, she wore it nonstop. Occasionally, with no prompting, she would stop and pose as the Statue, holding up whatever was handy as her torch (in this case, sunglasses). The impression that such a magnificent structure had left on her was obvious. Through overexposure, I almost feel immune to what an amazing landmark Lady Liberty is; seeing it through a seven-year-old’s eyes can restore the admiration it deserves.