Today I went to the Statue of Liberty for the 4th time in less than a year. My best friend, Deb is in town and it was number one on our list of touristy things to do in the city. I recalled my first trip to Lady Liberty and the wonder, amazement, and majesty I felt in its presence. But somehow, after a few more trips, hours of standing in line, boarding and exiting the crowded ferry, and countless aching muscles, the thrill has begun to dwindle. Regardless, it's impossible not to feel some sort of twinge of excitement and curiosity at the Ellis Island Museum when gazing upon the old, blown-up, black and white photos of past immigrants traveling to their new home.
On our final ferry ride back to New Jersey, I was amused by the little girl seated in front of us. She was maybe 4 or 5. I couldn't pinpoint the foreign dialect of her or her parents, but I guessed it was an Eastern European language of some kind. Despite the long tiring day the little girl no doubt experienced, she was full of boundless energy. She sang songs, hung from the hand rail, and even counted in broken English, "One, two, three!" Her mother directed her to pose for a picture with her dad as the ferry passed by the Statue of Liberty, to which she paid absolutely no attention. Instead, her father picked her up under her arms and held her squirming body next to his face. There he stood for a moment as the picture was snapped, while her arms and legs wiggled uncontrollably, her child-like song uninterrupted. I laughed as Deb said to me, "She has no idea the monumental landmark that's right next to her."
I began to think about the thousands of men, women, and children who've passed this very spot, seen this very sight, yet had no idea the amazing place in history it would hold. They carried all of their belongings as they walked from ship to shore, with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The spot of so many hopes, and so many tears. I wondered how many of them were oblivious to the significance, yet so very innocent, hopeful, and with their whole new life ahead of them, just like that little girl.