The Statue of Liberty: How are We Upholding the Promise of America?

Here’s Eric Metaxas:

We’ve all got our family stories about coming to America. And we all play a role in upholding the promise that is America.

It’s one of my favorite family stories, one I especially like to remember and share with my daughter as we approach the Fourth of July.

It was April 1954. My mother, a German immigrant to America, had boarded the MS Stockholm. The passage across the Atlantic Ocean was a stormy one, so to distract herself, my mother thought about the fact that, in just a short time, she would arrive in America—the land of her dreams.

In the final hour of the voyage, my mother was abruptly awakened at 5a.m. by a pounding on the door of her tiny, windowless cabin deep in the bowels of the ship. Opening the door, my mother and her cabin mate found a member of the crew.

“Come up on deck,” he said, smiling. “There’s something you’re going to want to see.” So my mother, along with dozens of other excited passengers, threw on their coats and made their way up to the deck. There, rising up in the dawn light, was the Statue of Liberty. It was one of the most exciting—and emotional—moments of my mother’s life. To her, the statue WAS America, the bright hope of the world for millions of immigrants like her.

I tell this story in my new book, “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty.” And I tell another story, as well—one that took place forty-eight years after my mother’s arrival. It’s the story of what it was like to live in New York on September 11, 2001 and during the harrowing days and weeks after the attacks.

Read more or listen to the column at Breakpoint.

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