by Emma Lazarus, 1883
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!”
Although the Statue of Liberty was not erected as a symbol of immigration, it quickly became one. Think of all the hearts that soared when finally she was spied in the harbor after that long journey across the sea. Almost every one of us is descended from those who came here from somewhere else for a better life, a new start.
How quickly some of us forget this, to our eternal shame.