New York, August 3 (AP): Hailed once again as a “beacon of hope,” the Statue of Liberty welcomed back huddled masses of tourists today for the first time since it was shut down nearly three years ago in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Interior secretary Gale Norton was on hand to officially open the doors, and a military choir sang George M. Cohan’s It's a Grand Old Flag before the crowd rose for the national anthem.
“This beacon of hope and liberty is once again open to the public, sending a reassuring message to the world that freedom is alive in New York and shining brighter than ever before,” governor. George Pataki said.
Liberty’s pedestal was re-opened despite new warnings over the weekend of possible terrorist attacks on financial centres in nearby Manhattan, Newark, New Jersey, and in Washington, DC.
“I think it shows the world that liberty cannot be intimidated,” assistant interior secretary Craig Manson said during a media preview tour yesterday. “I think it’s significant that despite the raising of the alert levels, we are still going ahead with the re-opening.”
Visitors can tour a reopened museum inside the pedestal and enjoy the panoramic view from the observation deck at the pedestal top, about 16 stories above ground.