The Statue of Liberty is an iconic monument that’s symbolic of freedom, hope, and inspiration. On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, she was struck by lightning.
If you were asleep in history class and you missed the lesson about how the Statue of Liberty came to be, here’s a (incredibly) brief lesson. It was in 1865 when Frenchman Édouard de Laboulaye decided to give a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France. Laboulaye wanted to commemorate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence, celebrate the relationship between the two countries, and was moved by the abolition of slavery in the U.S.
There were various efforts in both countries to raise funds for her construction. In New York 1885, Joseph Pulitzer placed an ad in New York World that asked for donations and 120,000 people donated over $100,000. On June 17, 1885, she arrived in New York Harbor and, after awaiting the construction of her pedestal, she stood tall on October 28, 1886 and would be known as Liberty Enlightening the World. While the Statue of Liberty is definitely a beaut, there is a lot of symbolism in her design. Her crown represents light with the spikes being sun rays, her tablet is inscribed with July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals, and has broken chains and shackles at her foot.
Fast forward to present day Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the people of New York witnessed the beloved statue getting struck by lightning. New York City, Newark, and Jersey City were hit with an extreme thunderstorm that brought heavy rain, thunder, and flashes of lightning. The statue getting struck caused quite the hysteria on social media. People were interpreting this event as the end of times or a sign from a heavenly being, commentary on America’s current political state, or that it is reflective of the dumpster-fire that is the year 2020.
While getting struck by lightning is a monumentous event, this is kind of nothing compared to what she has been through in the various films she is featured in. Filmmakers seem to have an affinity for depicting the statue in various natural disasters, monster attacks, and even animated films. Such examples include her getting decapitated in Cloverfield, snow covering her entire body except for her torch in The Day After Tomorrow, and in the animated film An American Tail about an adorable Russian immigrant mouse where the Statue of Liberty reminds everyone that she was originally an immigrant.