Saturday, July 2, 2016

Restoring Lady Liberty (1984-1986)

As we cruise into our fourth of july weekend, it brought to mind the extraordinary july 4th of 1986. That weekend, from July 3-6, 1986, was dubbed "Liberty Weekend" and was the subject of the grand re-opening of the Statue of Liberty, which had been undergoing extensive repairs and restoration. It was also the Statue's 100th anniversary.  The celebrations that followed were so grand that they are one of the most memorable events of the 1980s, and indeed seemed to symbolize the sense of positivity and revival that was present at that time.

During the early '80s it became apparent that the statue had some seriously needed repairs.  Plans were prepared for an extensive restoration by a team of American and French engineers (as the statue had itself been a gift from France). Scaffolding was erected in 1984, and for a two year period work progressed on Lady Liberty.

Here's an American Airlines commercial from that era.

Work was finally complete by mid 1986, and on that July 4th weekend, a big celebration was had that included words and appearances by President Reagan and other dignitaries, a star-studded set of performances and appearances by a large number of celebrities, and a re-play of the review of sailing ships which was originally seen during the 1976 bicentennial celebrations (dubbed, in honor of the original such event, Operation Sail 1986).    Above is an encapsulation of the event from NBC.

I wish all my readers in the U.S. a happy July 4th weekend!