When did you see the Statue of Liberty for the first time? Are there other symbols of the US that have meaning for you?

Visitor Voices

  1. I first saw the Statue of Liberty today. It had always been my dream to see it. But when I hear these stories of the refugees that came all the way from all different countries all over the world and they share their story to all these people that come to this museum about how they first saw the Statue of Liberty, that is really brave and it’s beautiful how all these people dare to share their stories. I especially like the story of Edith Arams, that told the people of New York that it was beautiful when she first saw the Statue of Liberty and I realized that the same feeling is the same to many people that still come to New York to see freedom.
    Sara, 11 years old, from the Netherlands


  2. The first time I saw the statue of liberty was on a 7th grade school trip. I was very moved thinking about my great grandparents who fled Europe at the outbreak of the war and landed on Ellis Island. The unkown must have been frightening. A new country! A new language! I will forever be thankful to the United States for opening their doors for allowing my great grandparents avoid persecution and live with religous freedom.

    Aviva Licht

    Aviva Licht

  3. We (mom, dad, 2 sisters and 2 brothers) migrated to the United States from Honduras C.A. in 1989. I saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time at the age of 9. I was (and still am) amazed at its beauty! It was an amazing feeling… Felt like I had arrived somewhere majestic. My eyes were watery as I held back tears. We hugged and simply observed.

    -Amanda Naira

    Amanda Naira

  4. Taiwan 2013

    The First Time I saw the statue of Liberty, I came to the shores with a New Hope, a New Dream, a New Life. Also letting God, hold me Yeshua, to have the courage to come to a new life, a new dream. I am thankful to be here at this new beginning. My dream is to Love God with all my heart, Love my Family, Love others specifically through being offering love through being a voice of Liberty through my artwork by working with other artists. Also by cherryblossom, beginning a greeting card company and benefiting the poor, specifically the disadvantaged in South East Asia. This is my dream.


  5. My great grandfather came to the USA in 1902 from Palestine, which is now Israel. He adapted greatly and developed a family real estate business. If he was alive today he would say “Wow things have changed. Not just America, but Israel.” He was Moses Jacob Neiditz Born In Palestine and came to America in 1902

    Harey Neiditz

  6. The statue of Liberty is clearly a strong symbol of freedom and unity of people. It is my first time to visit, and it gives me the amazing wow factor. The statue tells a lot of history of the state and people, provides us the importance on how things should be treassure on our daily lives. It is a great experience for and this gives me additional knowledge that I can share to others and use as a future references.

    Lady Sander Sapla,
    Baguio Philippines
    Arrived US 2009

    Lady Sander Sapla

  7. I actually just saw the Statue of Liberty just yesterday! It was an amazing site! I never came to New York City before yesterday! I was with my Mom and Uncle, and I saw it immediately as I walked on the boardwalk. I started jumping up and down and pointing and saying, “OMIGOSH!!!!!!!! There it is!!!!!! Its so big!!!!” I went totally insane and everyone was looking at me like I was insane. but I was, and I knew I was! and proud of it! It was one of the biggest moments in my whole life so far. I was in a great mood the rest of the day. I couldn’t help but not smile for the rest of the day.

    But the Statue of Liberty is not the only thing that means a lot to me. Its my hometown where I was born and raised. I am the only person on both sides of my family born here.Ii was born in Rochester,NY. People don’t think much of it, but it means the world to me. It has everything that I need. Its like my mini NYC. Maybe it doesn’t have huge billboards and TV screens in the middle of the street, and Broadway shows 24/7, but it has my home and life. I love you Rochester. my friends all hate Rochester, but I’m like “how? Its so awesome! I can’t believe you could think that…” I am, at full heart, a New Yorker.

    Sophie L.

  8. I was born here, my mother born in Vienna in 1938. I met the Statue of Liberty for the first time when I was 34 years old, and stood at her enormous feet in those sandals, reaching her torch out so strongly. The poem and her presence moved me to tears, and pride.

    Denise Lippa

  9. First time I saw the Statue was in 2008 when I was on a trip to NYC post-graduation. She was big, and green, and I am pretty sure that is the primary characteristics of her. It was rather interesting to see the symbol of the City up close and personal.

    Native born.

    Chris Shimer

  10. I saw the Statue of Liberty the first time on a girl scout trip to the Statute. I remember climbing up the stairs and how crowded it was. The variety of people climbing with me was a microcosm of the world. There were all nationalities. We were all united as one dealing with the struggle to get to the top, in the heat, with the crowds to look out the foggy windows and see the NYC harbor.

    Ellen Frank

  11. Germany, 1968

    Saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time today. I was born to American parents in Germany, and moved to the US when I was a baby. I’ve been back there a few times but prefer the U.S. I still cry at the Star Spangled Banner, and couldn’t help but cry when I saw the Statue of Liberty. I’m glad I don’t live in Germany for a lot of reasons, but mainly I love this country and feel a strong sense of gratefulness for being able to live here, and those who came before me so I could live here and be free.

    Heidi Snyder

  12. I first the the Statue of Liberty, in person, was two days ago, then again today. I have always lived in the USA and I take total pride in that fact. America to me is a place where there is freedom to be who you want to be and to do what you feel like doing. I know that sometimes I take advantage of my freedom and I definitely should not because so many other countries do not have the same opportunities as in America.

    Brooklynn Bound, America, Arrived 1995

  13. The first time I saw the statue of liberty , without even knowing the story behind her I knew something of greatness was present.


  14. I was born in New Jersey and always saw the Statue of Liberty as just another tourist attraction. It wasn’t until I started working in the Jewish Community in Cleveland that the whole concept of immigration and the struggles occurred to me. Now, looking out on to the Statue, Ellis Island, and the ice flow, I realize how lucky I am to be here and be an American. Thank you for this beautiful experience. It is making my heart sing.

    Martha Sivertson, Cleveland, OH

    Martha Sivertson

  15. Our father Max B. Wall came to Ellis Island from Poland in 1921 – to stand here and see this magnificant view is so moving (especially after seeing the powerful Hannah Sennesh exhibit) Our father served as a chaplain in WW two, and liberated the concentration camps. What a special museum.

    Mindy and Shira Wall

  16. I saw the statue of liberty for the first time today. Walking around, I did not know I was going to see it. It is beautiful to see it from here. This building is amazing, I loved my museum experience. I am 30 years old, and I am from Brazil.


  17. The first time I saw the Statue of Liberty I was 12. My mother had always told me about how it was the symbol of freedom for her and our family. She had come to America from South Africa, after escaping the war with the British and losing a sister. She was eleven, and most of my uncles and aunts were around that age. They were put outside the house with shotguns, told to kill anyone that tried to come near the house. They hid under the beds, and had to wrap a cloth around my youngest aunts mouth since she was an infant, crying. The Statue of Liberty means so much to my family and to me, because without it I would not be alive today and my family would have no home.

    Melissa Bannon, Pretoria, South Africa, Arrived US 1981

  18. The first time I saw Miss Liberty was when I walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the Brooklyn bridge. In Brooklyn we had a superb pizza at Grimaldi’s. A few days later we went to Liberty Island and saw her from close. Sadly we hadn’t reserved to walk up.


  19. The first time I saw the statue of liberty was TODAY – my third day in the US working on my final study degree project in communication design and photography. For me, the statue and this city at all is a nice picture of a country. What it is, how it could be and what its responsibility is for freedom of all the people in the whole world. I believe in the good in life and even though I believe the good will be stronger than the bad forces in this land of the free. GO FOR IT AMERICA!

    Christoph Bartholomaeus, Berlin, Germany, Arrived US 2010

  20. I was born in the USA in 1939, in Philadelphia, the best city of all. My four grandparents fled Ukraine in 1912 or so, looking for a better life, without persecution and with a chance to thrive. They arrived with nothing. I was able to get scholarships to college, thanks to this generous country. I did research in science and contributed there. With friends I invented products and built companies that employed many people. I attribute whatever success I had to the foresight of Moses and Anna and Louis and Kate, who took great risks to make a better life.

    Mickey Greenblatt

  21. I have lived in NYC all of my life, yet until recently, I have never been near the Statue of Liberty. However one day, for a college course, for a field trip to the Ellis Island museum I had the opportunity to see Statue of Liberty on the way. On the ferry to Ellis Island, I saw the Statue of Liberty up close, and I was surprised to see how big it was. I thought that 305 feet wouldn’t be so large, and even though I can see the Statue of Liberty from my window as I am typing this, it still looks somewhat diminuitive, even if it starkly contrasts the low-lying vegetation. But when I saw it, I could imagine the sublime effects it had on immigrants seeing NYC for the first time, not just as a symbol for Liberty, Democracy, and the American Way of Life, but as a monument to be remembered.


  22. The first time I saw the Statue of Liberty I was filled with exilleration and the feeling that I was entering a place that truely valued others and strived, if not in their deeds, then in principle, that all are equal.


  23. I remember looking at the statue of liberty when I was just about 6. I remember looking at that GOLD. I felt like I was in my own zone.

    olivia gross

  24. I am 5 years old. I saw the statue of liberty for the first time yesterday afternoon. I liked seeing it. It was very special to me alot because it is special to everyone. I like seeing the statute of liberty’s fire in her hand. And also, I liked it because I like all statues. I was born in NYC.

    josephine svarre

  25. We first visited New York from England in 2002, that is me, my wife Claire and my two sons Ben and Sam. We came down to the harbourside and sat looking over towards Liberty while we were eating a McDonalds meal. We felt we had really arrived in America then. My son Sam must have been more effected by Liberty than we though because he is now at University studying for a degree in American Studies.

    Steve Wood, Bredgar, Kent, England, 2002

  26. i saw the statue of liberty when i was 5 years old and when i first saw it i was really surprised because i never thought it was that big. yes another symbol in the us that means something for me is the empire state bilding because its very tall and i really like liked it allot.

    michelle negron

  27. The Statute of Liberty has added new meaning to our lives each day we live and experience something new. When we first moved to America it represented the dream that my husband, my children, and myself can some day become citizens and have the opportunity to work, gain an education, and most importantly become a part of a cosmopolitan society.

    Today, this dream is a reality for us. We are blessed to live in a community that is very diverse. Our children have had the opportunity to graduate from college and become active members in the society.

    The Statute of Liberty represents the dreams that I have dreamt, the dream to be a part of a society where I can interact with individuals from all walks of life, and most importantly, that my children can be a part of what it means to be a free society, a society that brings people together, whether it be in good times or bad times.

    We are very happy to be working in a New York City, and it is even more meaningful that on my way to work I can see the Statute of Liberty!


    Indra and Scottie Mahabir, St. Helena Village, Piarco, Trinidad, 1997

  28. The first time I saw the Statue of Liberty clearly was from the Staten
    Island Ferry, as I was being shown around New York City by a good
    friend of mine, only days before I started attending graduate school
    upstate. I remember being impressed, but also somewhat cynical, and
    very much feeling that although the statue stood for a wonderful
    sentiment, the country hardly lived up to it.

    There’s so much overt symbolism in this country. The way it is displayed is almost vulgar. Everyone has a flag flying, everywhere. Back home, that flag usually represents commercialism. My school, RPI, resides in a city whose claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of “Uncle Sam”, who never represented anything other than war to us. It’s a shame that there isn’t a single symbol that echoes the positive aspects of my new home – opportunity, growth and passion. They’ve all been subtly subverted.


    Orri Eiriksson, Kopavogur, Iceland, Arrived US 2007

add your voice

Please include your country of origin and the year of your arrival to the US.


Your story may be edited before it is published. Note: we reserve the right not to publish stories at our discretion. For additional information please review our Privacy Policy.

Your email is never published nor shared.