New York: Statue of Liberty, a veritable symbol of America, was reopened to the public for the first time since superstorm Sandy hit the island last year.
    
The reopening of Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island took place on the occasion of the nation's Independence Day on July 4, as the cultural icon saw its restoration in less than nine months after nature ravaged the city on October 29 last.
    
The opening ceremony had its dose of patriotic fanfare including a marching band clad in Revolutionary War replica uniforms. "The statue was at the heart of what America is really all about," City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on the occasion. "Thank God we have people like the French," Bloomberg said.
    
The 'Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World' was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the US, and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The statue has drawn as many as 4 million visitors a year from all over the world and it's a must-see tourist destination for any visitor to the US, particularly New York. The monument was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.
    
US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, US Senator Robert Menendez, National Park Service Director Jonathan B Jarvis, and other dignitaries were also present at the ceremony and ribbon cutting on the Island.
    
Designed by French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, with internal structural elements engineered by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the statue stands on a 12-acre island atop the former Fort Wood. Sheets of pure copper hang on a framework of steel 151 feet and one inch high. The pedestal and foundation add another 154 feet.
    
Nearly 12 million immigrants passed through the former arrival station between 1892 and 1954. The storm left three-quarters of Liberty Island inundated destroying electrical, phone and water and sewage systems.

(Agencies)

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