“Neenar, Neenar”- History lessons from a six year old

“The United States gave the Statue of Librarity (lie-brair-ity) to France but they gave it back so now they don’t have one. Neenar, neenar!”

This dear folks is how my daughter relayed the history of our great lady. She knows that we have the Statue of Liberty in New York. She was reading about how France had one too and that ours was a gift from France. It never occurred to her there might be two statues of Lady Liberty standing proudly in two separate countries. Her fact checker needs to be fired. 😉

In fact, just a quick Google search will reveal that there are over a hundred “Lady Liberty’s” worldwide. The first (original) was much smaller and she resides in Jardin du Luxembourg, in Paris. A panel along her pedestal claims that she was a bronze model used by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi in preparation for his work on the New York project. The two Ladies, the original in Paris and the statue in New York, have dates of their inaugurations printed on their tablets. While these dates are unique, as each country held it’s inaugurations at different times, it’s a pleasant thought that our girls have something in common.

Shout out to our home girl in Paris!
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t usually find history entertaining, but the story of our Lady Liberty came to be is remarkable.

  • “In 1865 a young French sculptor named Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi went to a banquet near the town of Versailles, where he struck up a conversation with Edouard de Laboulaye, a prominent historian. De Laboulaye, a great admirer of the United States, observed that the country’s centennial was approaching in 1876. He thought it would be a good idea for France to present America with a gift to commemorate the occasion.” –Neatorama

It started with dinner. Our country was about to turn 100 years old and the French decided we should celebrate. An agreement was struck between the French and the Americans. We would build the pedestal, they would provide the statue. This was a brilliant agreement, in my opinion, as both nations weren’t fairing so well financially.

Though the statue was commissioned in 1865, in honor of our centennial in 1876, it did not, in fact, arrive in the United States until 1885. The pedestal, as it turns out, wasn’t ready on time either. Like I said, both countries were having financial hardships and being that it was a “French” statue, France had a much easier time procuring funds. Excitement was higher in France, than the States, but some of that changed when the statue arrived. The pedestal was finished in 1886 and it took four months to reassemble the old girl into the statue we see today.

Our statue’s inauguration took place on October, 28, 1886. That’s ten years AFTER our centennial, but a Lady must take her time in looking her best, so we forgive her. Better late than never, after all!


5 thoughts on ““Neenar, Neenar”- History lessons from a six year old

  1. Don says:

    I had forgotten there was a version in Paris – thanks for the reminder. I’m going to check it out next time I’m down there.

    I was curious at first, because I’ve spent some time wandering various parts (but by no means all) of the city and never saw it. So I looked up that garden; now I’m VERY curious, because I have walked through that garden on at least two occasions, and I STILL didn’t see it. Wikipedia agrees with you that it’s there though, so next time I’m in Paris, I’m headed straight to Le Jardin Du Luxembourg to find that damned Lady Liberty!

    • Glad we could help. I have never traveled outside of the States, and given my fear of traveling outside the States, I doubt I ever will. Give her a “hi five” for the “tacky American”!

      • Don says:

        I will definitely do that. 😀

        Why are you afraid of travelling outside of the states, if I may ask?

      • For starters? I don’t like air travel and very few ships are making the 5 week voyage across the pond anymore. Then there is the food, the people, the strange places, strange cities, languages I don’t understand and it’s all very overwhelming for someone with Aspergers. That’s a lot of new stimuli in a very short time (assuming I made the flight instead of catching the boat). Then there is my biggest issue… I have an uncontrollable, yet highly laughable, habit of mimicking accents. *hangs head as if shamed* I truly can’t control it, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes embarrassing, but it just comes and it’s really hard to break out of it. I don’t do it on purpose, but I can’t stop it either.

        For instance, we went to California for vacation. We went to Disneyland with the kids. The newest Disney princess is Merida, a Scottish lass with a bow and arrow. I was Scottish for three days after meeting her. *face palm* My friends were laughing at me, my husband got more than a little annoyed and my kids were very confused, but I still couldn’t stop it. I fear I get this from my mother, she’s Irish when she’s drunk and British when she goes shopping, it’s all very weird.

      • Don says:

        Fair enough. Once I find the mini Lady Liberty, I’ll be sure to get a picture for you. 🙂

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