“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free”

statue-of-liberty-emma-lazarus-poem-1883The reasons they left their homes in the Old World included war, drought, famine and religious persecution, and all had hopes for greater opportunity in the New World.
(From History.com)


Today wraps up our 4th of July weekend celebration.

We’ve seen fireworks, heard the Patriotic songs, and eaten hot dogs and apple pie. (We actually drove in our Chevrolet to eat hot dogs and apple pie, and then watched some baseball… You probably have to be old enough to remember the commercial).

If you opened your eyes at all, you saw the image of the Statue of Liberty sometime over this weekend. On Ellis Island, the spot at which so Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New Yorkmany, many immigrants arrived, it has stood as the great beacon of hope for the people who helped make the United States of America of the 20th century.

Maybe we should pause, and remember what is inscribed at that statue, on the island of arrival. It really does state what this country stands for, and offers. Maybe a good reminder for whenever we think about anyone who longs to come to this country – anyone who is yearning to breathe free.

I’ve bolded the best-known, most often quoted lines.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

Click on image for full view
Click on image for full view

(“The New Colossus” is a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–87), written in 1883. In 1903, the poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.)

It is an invitation, put front and center at the very symbol of the freedom to be found in our beloved country.

A good reminder for this weekend of celebration – celebrating our freedom.


(Here’s a “newer” poem, from Neil Diamond — excerpted)…

We’ve been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They’re coming to America
Never looking back again,
They’re coming to America

Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Ev’ry time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America 

Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America


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