Happy Birthday, Mrs. Liberty!

Sometimes I get nostalgic. Sometimes I feel like I live in the wrong century. I would love to live some 150 years ago. hm. Well lets say born in 1820 lets say. That would be 180 years as some smart asses might think or even say it but never mind. As far as I see that, sever people would prefer to live in the past. Maybe not that far in the past, but still, in the past. Maybe that is because we know more about the history than the future. (ok, some people know nothing about both but these are not topic here). And maybe it is also because we glorify the past – or lets say better: we romanticise it. Most people do. “Good old times…”, we all know that expression, mostly combined with blissfully faces when peopel tell us about their youth or any other long gone time when everything was better, really everything: even the future. The longer I think about this the more I get the feeling that this tendency to glorify the past is nothing but a sign of fear. Fear of the future, fear of the unknown that expects us in the grey cold dust we are walking into. And the past – we know. As of course in our imagination we want to live in that time but with the knowledge that we have. Lets take the expatriots 150 years ago who left europe and tried to find a new life in Amerika. Many nice stories of families who made it there are known from books and movies, but imagine you were on of these ships, arriving to a new and ctotaly unknown country… how optimistic can one be really?

But then again – the idea to arrive in a new country, a new home, is a good feeling also. It is like standing in the sun in an aealy spring day when the sunshine gets slightly warmer after the cold winter sun and we close our eyes and turn our face in the sunshine to welcome the warmness and the light. I love that feeling – and I imagine that must have been the feeling the immigrants had when they finally saw what even I take as THE symbol of the United States of America. The Statue of Liberty. Today, 124 years ago, on Oct. 28th 1886 that – completely unknown – US President Cleveland uncovered the  present of the french people to the “New world” (as most of you know, Mrs Liberty is a copy, the original is in Paris). In the diary of a polish family Schmolensky,  arrived in New York 1894, one can read:

“We all stood on board and tried to see anything through the fog. And suddenly someone yelled “There she is!” and then we all saw her, the statue of liberty. and then we knew: we are in America.”

I understand that. When I have been to the USA first time, the last station of my journey finally brought me to New York (after Chicago, New Orelans and Miami) and I remember exactly how I arrived at short past 9 in the morning with the Metro at Staten Island Ferry station, the morning coffee in my hand, heading directly to battery park – and when I finally entered the park I could not do anything but running t9o the riverside because – even though I have been in America already 10 days, I only felt that I am really here when I saw the Statue of Liberty standing there in the sun.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Liberty!


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