by Richa Varma
Ascending 354, 19-inch-wide steps to a cramped, enclosed area in sweltering weather after undergoing stiff security checks may not be everyone’s idea of a perfect weekend. Yet, on July 4, climbing to the reopened crown of theStatue of Liberty in New York was a fiercely coveted journey.
The entire statue was closed to the public after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and remained so until 2004. That year, limited access was made available, with visitors permitted to enter only the pedestal. July 4 marked the first time visitors were allowed to tour the crown once again.
Carrying small American flags and wearing green foam crowns, 30 people beat hundreds of other aspirants in buying online tickets to visit the small room overlooking New York Harbor.
Located on a 12 acre island, the Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is considered a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
While about 240 visitors will be able to tour the crown daily, anybody can visit the monument from home by taking the Statue of Liberty National Monument virtual tour.