Sunday, August 26, 2007

Give Me Your Cheesy Statue Knock-Offs

The Iconic Liberty Enlightening the World, or more commonly known as The Statue of Liberty, stands proudly in New York Harbor, a symbol of the promise of freedom offered by the United States. Given to this nation by the people of France in 1889, Lady Liberty has welcomed immigrants, warriors returning from the battlefield, and tourists to America's largest metropolis for 118 years. Arguably, this is the most copied statue in the world. In Paris, France, there are two replicas, the most famous overlooks the River Seine, facing toward her New York original. Cities around the globe have replicas prominently displayed. Here in the United States, there is even a replica at the New York, New York hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

One massive distribution of Lady Liberty knockoffs was done by the Boy Scouts of America. Between 1949 and 1951, the youth organization distributed over 200 low-budget replicas to towns and cities across the United States. About half of them are known to still be around. I have seen at least two of these, one of them just yesterday. The first one was many years ago, and it stands (or at least did decades ago) at Boy Scout Camp Sidney Dew in Georgia. The one I saw yesterday, shown here, is on the grounds of the Weld County, Colorado courthouse.

Like all of the statues distributed by the scouts, this one is not a close replica at all. The face is somewhat misshapen and rounder in features than the original. I also noticed this one appears to be getting tired, as the torch is not being held up exactly straight, if it ever was. Still, it is one of the remaining examples of this post-World War II act of patriotism by the scouting organization, and is proudly displayed 57 years after it was donated in 1950.
As the current government in Washington continues its assault on our freedoms, let's hope that our actual liberties don't die before the demise of these statues that personify those ideals.

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