Wednesday, July 8, 2009

.. for whenever I am weak, them I am strong ..

The second reading at church on the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, taken from 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, ended with the line shown above.

When Pastor Dan started his sermon, he quoted the phrase in the title above, and then used it as a segue to go to the poem that is attached to the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Since its founding, our country has truly been a land of immigrants, many of them coming to America at a time of great peril in their homeland (the Irish during the time of the potato famine, Jews during the early stages of WWII, and Bosnians in the early 1990’s, to name a few).

Ironically, the natives of America (the Indians) were not allowed to vote until 1923, three years after women secured the right to vote.

Based on current demographic trends, it is predicted that by the year 2035, the “minorities” in America will actually be the MAJORITY in this country, which is a strange state of affairs for a lot of Caucasians that I know.

Our strength as a country has always been the fact that we ARE a great melting pot, and the “huddled masses yearning to be free” (who are the “weak” of their homeland), have helped the United States to become the largest economy in the world, as well as a champion of individual rights throughout the world.

When “Lady Liberty” was first unveiled to the public on October 20 of 1886, the statue also functioned as a lighthouse, but was deactivated in 1902.

It was the first lighthouse in the United States to use electricity.

The “Black Tom” explosion of 1916 nearly took the whole thing down.

The design of the statue is actually taken from the ancient Roman goddess Libertas, the goddess of freedom from slavery, oppression, and tyranny.

After 9/11, the statue was closed to the public, but portions were re-opened on August 3, 2004. The crown itself was not open for public viewing until July 4, 2009.

Since the erection of the statute in 1886, there is no recorded history of a marriage proposal taking place inside the statue, but that history changed on July 4 of 2009, when Aaron Weisinger of Danville, California got down on one knee, and proposed to girlfriend Erica Breder (a first generation American).

She said “yes”.

The rest of their story can be found in the July 5, 2009 edition of the Chicago Tribune by typing “statue of liberty” into the search box.

When the World Trade Center was under construction, I had an opportunity to travel to New York, and used the occasion to travel to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Even today, that visit still carries fond memories.

From very humble beginnings, our country now finds itself as the sole remaining “superpower”, as well as the world’s largest economy. In fact, if California were a sovereign nation, it would have the 8th largest economy in the world.

Since this story opened with a Bible verse, it also will close with one, taken from Matthew 5:5:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

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