Statue of Liberty completes 125 yrs

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Old 30-Oct-2011
Ginni Singh
Statue of Liberty completes 125 yrs

NEW YORK: Scores of people waved tiny flags after taking the oath of United States citizenship at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on Friday, 125 years after the iconic American symbol welcoming visitors and immigrants was dedicated.

"We are a nation of diverse people," secretary of the interior Ken Salazar said during the naturalization ceremony on Liberty Island. "And that diversity strengthens our nation." The new Americans, 125 immigrants from 46 countries , pledged to renounce foreign power, then posed for photos with their citizenship certificates.

The birthday party concluded on Friday with a 12-minute fireworks display choreographed to patriotic music.

"I feel like if you live in a place, you should have a say in the politics," said Paul Currie, who moved to the United States from South Africa eight years ago. "Otherwise, you're an outsider."

Silvia Hodges, who came to the US from Germany in 1999, said the ceremony made her feel "like I belong here and I really want to vote."

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, was conceived to symbolize the friendship between the two countries and a shared love of liberty. President Glover Cleveland dedicated the statue on Oct 28, 1886.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "If anybody around this world wants to pick up their family and move so that their family can have freedom - freedom to speak, freedom to be in charge of their own destiny, all the freedoms that we have incorporated into the Bill of Rights - they always come to America ." Actress Sigourney Weaver recited Emma Lazarus' 'The New Colossus' and gestured to the statue behind her at the words "a mighty woman with a torch" .

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