Education Experiences Travel in New York

Destiny took over to destination for me after wishing to visit the Statue of Liberty for the past 30 years. The irony of this wish is through my son, who was born on the 4th of July, and his school, Dag Middle School, where his teacher, Mrs. Fig asked me to attend this trip, a trip to the Statue of Liberty.

They had no knowledge of my wish until Tommy, my son, and I told them. I believe in my heart that my wish was meant for my son, a real live Nephew of Uncle Sam, born On the Fourth of July, to be the one with me to visit this remarkable statue. I found it to be a miracle wish come true when Mrs. Fig asked me to go on this trip with the school and her class.

Visiting the Statue of Liberty was not only the most thrilling experience the children and I saw, but an educational experience as well. In the lower level we saw the original Torch that once was held by Miss. Liberty before the reconstruction of a new torch was complete. I have to admit, after climbing 25 flights of stairs inside the statue to reach the upper deck, the pain in my legs the next day was worth the climb. The interior of the Statue is amazing. When we reached the upper deck, the view of the New York City skyline is absolutely breath taking. However, we need to keep in mind that the view, although beautiful, what this Statue truly represents Unity, Friendship, Freedom and Justice.

The Statue of Liberty is a National Monument. She celebrated her 100th birthday on October 28, 1986. The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States of America well over one hundred years ago in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty's symbolism has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as this international friendship. This statue represents our freedom. It also is known as a land mark for ships with immigrants coming into the United States when their ships docked at Ellis Island. Through this trip, we also took the ferry boat to Ellis Island as well, where we viewed the history of Ellis Island and the Large Wall of Honor that is the size of two foot ball fields, displaying so many last names of our ancestors.

According to information provided at Ellis Island, The Baggage Room is where thousands of immigrants crowded on a daily basis. There is where they checked on their baggage before climbing the steps to the Registry Room. The Railroad Ticket Office is where immigrants made their travel arrangements to their final destinations in the United States. It now contains exhibits covering 400 years of immigration history

The historic Great Hall, once filled with new arrivals waiting to be inspected and registered by immigration officers, now contains historic benches and reproduction inspector desks. Visitors can re-live the experience of 12 million people processed through this cavernous space. In later years, The Great Wall of Honor was built, carved with the names of millions of people who first arrived to the United States of America. On this wall is where I found my own ancestors names on both sides of my family. The funny thing was I even found my husband's name to prove to my son that Dad really did come off the May Flower. Actually, the name must have been an ancestor, but I had to have a little fun with it.

Did you know that during the World Wars, immigrants that came to America had to stay on Ellis Island until the wars were over? They were considered illegal because of the wars. Did you know that many, who arrived to America on Ellis Island when no wars took place, were asked over 30 questions and each had to go through medical inspections as well? Many were denied access and shipped back to where they came from.

After all was viewed and learned about, we took a trip into the city. We stopped for dinner where I met this nice clown who told me I looked 29. Obviously that made me very happy. But I talked to him. He lost his job because of the economy; he was laid off without notice recently. Since, he dresses as a clown and makes animals out of balloons just to hand out on a street corner in NYC.

Although he didn't ask, I gave him a donation for making a poodle out of a balloon for me, then a kiss on the cheek for complimenting me about how old I look. I figured a kiss on the cheek from me is worth a million because that is not like me to do that. But the truth is I gave him a kiss on his cheek simply because he told me it makes him happy to use his talent to make people smile.

He has a college degree; he has been applying for jobs everywhere. However, he set an example, dressed as a clown, when he told the children the importance of education and why college is important. His way of telling them the importance of education was If you don't do well in school and get a college education, you may end up like me, a clown on a street corner, making animals out of balloons.

To continue, we took a drive by visit to the location of Ground Zero. All the children, teachers, chaperones, including myself, had a moment of silence. After seeing Ground Zero and traveling down the street of what happened on 9/11, my thoughts went to work about that day. I will never forget 9/11 and I know many who are reading this will never forget that day as well.

My thoughts were about the people who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. My thoughts were about the people who lost their lives because of National Disasters. My heart became a sudden door filled with tears. What The Beautiful Statue of Liberty stands for means more than a National Monument, it defines why people came to America, and it defines why our veterans that sacrificed to protect and to save our freedom along with our current military who continue to sacrifice to keep our freedom. It defines the American People who come together as one Union of humanity to help others, or simply do something out of the goodness of their hearts to make another person smile. Like the young man who dresses as a clown, an educated man who lost his job, loves making animals out of balloons on his free time, between interviews for other jobs, just to make people smile.

On the day of 9/11/2001, a day nobody will forget, all Fire Departments, Police Departments, our Military, the American People, our Legislators and most important our Red Cross, all stepped up to the plate and we all felt inside our hearts what being one Union of The United States of America really is. No matter what happens, through all of the wars Americans have faced, through our economy trials, we all need to be thankful for one thing, people that are there for the people.

There is nowhere in the world that I would rather be. There is nothing in the world that I would rather see then what I saw when I took the trip to NYC - The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, for in America, United We Stand, Divided We Fall. If our backs should ever be against the wall, American People will stay together, forever, that means you and me. It also means we need work the problems to come to resolution. Example: Apollo 13. Think about it. NASA worked the problem as a team to bring those Astronauts home. They didn't argue who is right and who is wrong, because if they did, the problem would have affected the lives of those Astronauts on Apollo 13 and their families.

If the world should fall apart, look at the ones that will still be there for us. When the going gets hard, calling out for help is how we represent Unity, not just as Americans, but as Citizens in Connecticut and our Country. Think about our non-profits, hospitals, veterans, military, law enforcements, fire fighters, EMT's, RED CROSS, Legislators that care for the American People, our Mayors in our local communities and more. Look at what they all do for US as one union of Citizens in America, citizens that are human beings.

The Statue of Liberty is more than a symbol of what America stands for. Just looking at Miss. Liberty, somehow you can hear the words - friendship, freedom, peace and unity. On Ellis Island, The Great Wall, our backs should never be against that wall. That wall represents the courage of our ancestors and why they came to America; to establish the American Dream by settling to their destination of location, land and build a home, employment and freedom for their family and generations following. That Great Wall of Honor represents Family Unity.

Until you take the trip to NYC, get on the Ferry to Miss. Liberty then to Miss. Ellis Island, it is there that you will clearly understand what The United States of America is and what it took to gain our freedom stemming back from our ancestors and those who fought for the birth of America. It is there you will understand why we need to continue to support our Military, Fire Fighters, Legislators and our Red Cross and most of all, each other.

Together we will remain United and we will rise above anything and everything. Just look at the smile on the Statue of Miss. Liberty, look at the names on The Great Wall, look at Ground Zero and remember through all the wars America has battled, through all the economical changes, through everything America has faced, we rose above and remained by standing United together just by listening to the needs of others.

The Statue Of Liberty is a value for what it represents and means to be a citizen of The United States of America. Keep in mind that today's youth is tomorrow's future. As generations of families grow, what we do today to make a difference, are changes that today's youth will lead tomorrow for generations to come.