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Members of the Old Guard attend the reopening ceremony of the Statue of Liberty in New York on Thursday, July 4. It had been closed to the public since October 29, 2012, because of damage from Superstorm Sandy. Members of the Old Guard attend the reopening ceremony of the Statue of Liberty in New York on Thursday, July 4. It had been closed to the public since October 29, 2012, because of damage from Superstorm Sandy.

The statue, designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, towers over Paris rooftops during construction in 1884. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France to commemorate 100 years of Franco-American friendship as well as the centennial of America's independence.The statue, designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, towers over Paris rooftops during construction in 1884. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France to commemorate 100 years of Franco-American friendship as well as the centennial of America’s independence.

Refugee children from England arrive in New York Harbor during World War II in 1940.Refugee children from England arrive in New York Harbor during World War II in 1940.

The towering of skyline of downtown Manhattan rises with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground in 1950.The towering of skyline of downtown Manhattan rises with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground in 1950.

The New York Harbor and World Trade Center are shown behind the Statue of Liberty in 1980.The New York Harbor and World Trade Center are shown behind the Statue of Liberty in 1980.

Workers remove scaffolding from around the torch after restoration work in 1985. The twin towers of the World Trade Center can be seen in the background.Workers remove scaffolding from around the torch after restoration work in 1985. The twin towers of the World Trade Center can be seen in the background.

In November 1995, a federal budget crisis causes Liberty Island to close to tourists.In November 1995, a federal budget crisis causes Liberty Island to close to tourists.

The Statue of Liberty sports a milk mustache in this 1995 ad.The Statue of Liberty sports a milk mustache in this 1995 ad.

A representation of a giant glass of Guinness is lowered from a helicopter over the Statue of Liberty to publicize the city's first Irish Music amp; Arts Festival in 1997.A representation of a giant glass of Guinness is lowered from a helicopter over the Statue of Liberty to publicize the city’s first Irish Music Arts Festival in 1997.

The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy is anchored in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty in preparation to carry President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton during Independence Day festivities in 2000.The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy is anchored in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty in preparation to carry President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton during Independence Day festivities in 2000.

The Statue of Liberty is shrouded in smoke on September 15, 2001, four days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.The Statue of Liberty is shrouded in smoke on September 15, 2001, four days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The New York City skyline seen from Bayonne, New Jersey, in October 2001.The New York City skyline seen from Bayonne, New Jersey, in October 2001.

The statue's pedestal reopens to visitors on August 3, 2004, for the first time since the September 11 terrorist attacks.The statue’s pedestal reopens to visitors on August 3, 2004, for the first time since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A New York Waterway ferry moves along the water as the sun sets behind the Statue of Liberty in 2004.A New York Waterway ferry moves along the water as the sun sets behind the Statue of Liberty in 2004.

During a special 2006 show by French champagne maker Mot amp; Chandon, the Statue of Liberty is lit to show the contours of the sculpture.During a special 2006 show by French champagne maker Moët Chandon, the Statue of Liberty is lit to show the contours of the sculpture.

The Statue of Liberty from above in 2007.The Statue of Liberty from above in 2007.

An aerial view of New York Harbor shows Lady Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan in 2007.An aerial view of New York Harbor shows Lady Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan in 2007.

Clouds roll in over the Statue of Liberty in 2008.Clouds roll in over the Statue of Liberty in 2008.

The statue's crown reopens to the public on July 4, 2008, after remaining closed since the World Trade Center attacks in 2001.The statue’s crown reopens to the public on July 4, 2008, after remaining closed since the World Trade Center attacks in 2001.

A replica of the Dutch ship Half Moon sails past the Statue of Liberty, commemorating the English navigator Henry Hudson's entry into New York Harbor in 1609.A replica of the Dutch ship Half Moon sails past the Statue of Liberty, commemorating the English navigator Henry Hudson’s entry into New York Harbor in 1609.

A memorial that echoes the shape of the World Trade Center twin towers is illuminated on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.A memorial that echoes the shape of the World Trade Center twin towers is illuminated on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Fireworks explode over the Statue of Liberty on the anniversary of its dedication on October 28, 2011. The celebrations for the worldwide symbol of freedom and of friendship between France and the United States included the naturalization of 125 citizens from 46 nations and the installation of Internet webcams on the statue.Fireworks explode over the Statue of Liberty on the anniversary of its dedication on October 28, 2011. The celebrations for the worldwide symbol of freedom and of friendship between France and the United States included the naturalization of 125 citizens from 46 nations and the installation of Internet webcams on the statue.

The sun rises in front of the Statue of Liberty before the start of a ceremonies on Liberty Island on October 28, 2011, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the dedication.The sun rises in front of the Statue of Liberty before the start of a ceremonies on Liberty Island on October 28, 2011, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the dedication.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise is towed in June 2012 on a barge past the Statue of Liberty on its way to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.The Space Shuttle Enterprise is towed in June 2012 on a barge past the Statue of Liberty on its way to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

On May 14, boats pass the Statue of Liberty, which had remained closed more than six months after Superstorm Sandy.On May 14, boats pass the Statue of Liberty, which had remained closed more than six months after Superstorm Sandy.

Visitors to the Statue of Liberty disembark from the first ferry to leave Manhattan, on Thursday, July 4, the first day the attraction reopened after suffering damage from Superstorm Sandy.Visitors to the Statue of Liberty disembark from the first ferry to leave Manhattan, on Thursday, July 4, the first day the attraction reopened after suffering damage from Superstorm Sandy.


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(CNN) — Lady Liberty reopened her doors to the huddled masses Thursday, a sign of recovery from Superstorm Sandy’s devastation.

The Statue of Liberty’s reopening was a big bright spot for an Independence Day dampened by soaking rains in much of the country and limited by the across-the-board federal budget cuts known as the sequester, which left numerous military bases without annual fireworks displays.

“It is hard to imagine a more appropriate or powerful way to commemorate our nation’s founding than to reopen the Statue of Liberty, which is a symbol throughout the world of the freedom America cherishes,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Liberty Island, which was hard hit by Superstorm Sandy in October just days after the site was closed for a year of renovations.

Thursday, crowds lined up to board ferries for one of the world’s most iconic attractions.

“Today, Lady Liberty also stands as a sign of the resilience of the region — an area so badly battered by Hurricane Sandy nine months ago, but that is on the rebound thanks to the sacrifices and dedication of so many people,” Jewell said.

A re-enactor in colonial attire takes a photograph with his mobile phone before a public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Boston on Thursday, July 4. People across these United States gathered on Thursday to celebrate Independence Day with parades, picnics and fireworks. Click through the gallery to witness the celebrations:A re-enactor in colonial attire takes a photograph with his mobile phone before a public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Boston on Thursday, July 4. People across these United States gathered on Thursday to celebrate Independence Day with parades, picnics and fireworks. Click through the gallery to witness the celebrations:

An American flag casts a shadow on the ground as spectators wait for a public reading the Declaration of Independence in Boston.An American flag casts a shadow on the ground as spectators wait for a public reading the Declaration of Independence in Boston.

Neeley Mathes, 10, stands in front of the judges on Carr Avenue during the costume contest that follows the annual Central Gardens Fourth of July parade in Memphis, Tennessee.Neeley Mathes, 10, stands in front of the judges on Carr Avenue during the costume contest that follows the annual Central Gardens Fourth of July parade in Memphis, Tennessee.

Emma Winkler, 3, points as she re-enacts George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River while being pulled down Carr Avenue in Memphis with her 11-month-old sister, Elizabeth Winkler.Emma Winkler, 3, points as she re-enacts George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River while being pulled down Carr Avenue in Memphis with her 11-month-old sister, Elizabeth Winkler.

Perennial chomping champ Joey Chestnut, center, wins New York's annual Independence Day hot dog eating competition yet again with a total of 69 hot dogs and buns on Thursday at Coney Island in Brooklyn.Perennial chomping champ Joey Chestnut, center, wins New York’s annual Independence Day hot dog eating competition yet again with a total of 69 hot dogs and buns on Thursday at Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Decked out from head to toe in patriotism, 9-year-old Remi Schaber, left, and her brother Chase, 11, don spandex suits for the Independence Day parade in Cordova, Tennessee.Decked out from head to toe in patriotism, 9-year-old Remi Schaber, left, and her brother Chase, 11, don spandex suits for the Independence Day parade in Cordova, Tennessee.

People line the streets to watch a Fourth of July parade in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.People line the streets to watch a Fourth of July parade in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.

People participate in the Ridgefield Park parade.People participate in the Ridgefield Park parade.

An observer waves an American flag during the parade in Ridgefield Park.An observer waves an American flag during the parade in Ridgefield Park.

A parade participant rides a penny farthing, or high-wheel bicycle, down the street in Ridgefield Park.A parade participant rides a penny farthing, or high-wheel bicycle, down the street in Ridgefield Park.

Ed Lunderman, a member of a Living History Musket Detail, fires his weapon to represent the shot heard around the world during a Fourth of July ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.Ed Lunderman, a member of a Living History Musket Detail, fires his weapon to represent “the shot heard around the world” during a Fourth of July ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.

A child attends a ceremony to reopen the Statue of Liberty to the public in New York on July 4.A child attends a ceremony to reopen the Statue of Liberty to the public in New York on July 4.

Members of the Old Guard attend the reopening ceremony of the Statue of Liberty, marking the first day it opened to the public after being shuttered by Superstorm Sandy in October.Members of the Old Guard attend the reopening ceremony of the Statue of Liberty, marking the first day it opened to the public after being shuttered by Superstorm Sandy in October.


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Photos: Celebrating the Fourth of JulyPhotos: Celebrating the Fourth of July


Statue of Liberty reopens on July 4

The site is a “huge economic engine,” the Interior Department said In 2011, 3.7 million visitors contributed $174 million to the New York area economy and supported more than 2,200 jobs.

“We’ve not only repaired damage from Sandy, but we’ve also taken steps to protect Liberty Island from major storms in the future, just as we’re doing in the rest of our city,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

(Trivia alert: The statue is formally known as Liberty Enlightening the World.)

The first visitors arrived just before 9 a.m.

Peter Belvel of Phoenix, Arizona, made a stop on a tour of the country with his family. He said it was “amazing” to be at the site.

“It just makes your heart swell. … People come from all over to see this and we’re privileged to be here.”

His young daughter, Katie Belvel, told CNN the visit “means a lot to me because it’s our country and I love it.”

New York City had other reasons to celebrate. Across the harbor, thousands packed Brooklyn’s Coney Island — one of many seaside areas in New York and the Jersey Shore that were devastated eight months ago by Sandy — to cheer a group of professionals chowing down on one of the most all-American of meals: hot dogs.

The top dog in the men’s event, for the seventh straight time, was Joey Chestnut. The California native somehow scarfed down 69 franks and buns in 10 minutes, topping his own record by one hot dog.

Chestnut tells CNN his chowdown championship strategy

Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas also repeated as champ, but barely. When the clock ran out after the women’s division showdown, the scoreboard indicated that she and Juliette Lee were tied at 36 piece. But the judges later ruled that Lee had eaten ¾ more dogs.

The timing of both festivities “couldn’t be better” for the New York City area, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said. After seeing rainfall for eight of the past 10 days, the region saw dry, though hot, weather for July Fourth festivities.

Other parts of the country, such as the Midwest, also saw gorgeous weather.

But there were exceptions. The Southwest, as it has for days, continued to bake in triple digit weather. And rain dampened parades and doused firework shows in much of the Southeast, Ohio River Valley and parts of the Eastern Seaboard.

Mother Nature isn’t the only reason some Americans missed out on fireworks this year.

The sequester has left numerous military bases without the funds.

Fort Hood in Texas “managed to salvage its fireworks from dipping into profits earned from its recycling center,” Time reports.

A Pittsburgh company offered to provide a show for free for military families at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, but the military turned down the offer, CNN affiliate KDKA reported.

Military officials said they did not have the funds to cover additional costs of putting on a big celebration, said George Zambelli, whose family business has provided the fireworks at Camp Lejeune before.

CNN iReporter Edmund Lowe captures fireworks over Legoe Bay, Lummi Island, in Washington State in 2011.

How to capture the perfect holiday fireworks photo

(Fun fact, or perhaps not so much fun: The overwhelming majority of fireworks are imported from China Same with U.S. flags.)

Unlikely, unusual, memorable photographs of U.S. flags

More Americans are celebrating the holiday at home this year than last year, according to estimates by the motorist group AAA. About 41 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home by Monday, down about 300,000 from those who made similar trips last year.

“Economic growth is not robust enough to offset the impact of the sequester and the effect of the end of the payroll tax cut on American families,” said AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet.

While some will sing the national anthem — such Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who belted out the “Star Spangled Banner” at Nationals Park in the District of Columbia — others are focused more on what’s going into their mouths, from grilled greatness to apple pie.

President Obama, meanwhile, sought to bring the meaning of the holiday home.

In his weekly address, he thanked service members and called on Americans to keep striving for the ideals of “a small band of patriots” who declared American independence. “Two hundred thirty-seven years later, the United States — this improbable nation — is the greatest in the world,” Obama said. “A land of liberty and opportunity.”

CNN’s Greg Botelho contributed to this report.


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_allpolitics/~3/Oxz4hxo8Ve4/index.html

Categories: Politics

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