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Lady Liberty Held the U.S.?


    Could it be? Is the Statue of Liberty being held hostage by the U.S. government?
    The Grand Old Lady on Liberty Island has been closed to tourists since 9-11 under the pretence of security. Yep, the enduring lady who has welcomed millions to the United States, the land of the free, has been off-limits to visitors.
    But now, according to the New York Daily News, Lady Liberty has been reopened. Kinda. You see, only the pedestal of the statue is open. You still can't climb up the winding stairs into the crown, something I did as a kid many, many years ago.

        The Daily News thinks that should change. Overnight, preferably. Here's how the newspaper laid out its argument:
        "Let visitors climb the 162 steps to the crown, as generations before them did. Let them gaze from one of the 25 windows at the world below, instead of merely gazing up at the structural skeleton. Stringent security measures are already in place. Visitors must pass through metal detectors before boarding the boat to Liberty Island and again before entering the statue's base. And the only way to get into the base is to hold a timed pass and be part of a park ranger-guided tour. Want even more security? Require a separate pass for those who want to climb the stairs. Put in a third metal-detector station. Have statue climbers sign a waiver, if that would make the Park Service feel more secure. But stop making excuses for refusing the public access to one of the world's great monuments.
    "When President Grover Cleveland accepted the statue from the people of France in 1886, he said: 'We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen alter be neglected.'
    "It's not being neglected. It's being restricted. And that's just as bad."
Hard to argue with that logic, isn't it?


One of the untold stories in all this is that visitors to Liberty Island don't just have to pass through a metal detector - they have to pass through security procedures that are more stringent than at an airport. Unfortunately, too many security procedures in this country seem defined more by what they *can* do to restrict access, rather than what is reasonable to do.

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