Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between
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Because some have forgotten

In 1883 a Jewish writer named Emma Lazarus was asked to write a poem to help raise money for the pedestal needed before the Statue of Liberty could be erected on what became Liberty Island in New York Harbor. She refused until southern writer (really southern–she helped sew the original Confederate battle flag) Constance Cary Harrison convinced her how important that statue could be to immigrants sailing into the harbor.

Ultimately she wrote a sonnet titled “The New Colossus”, after the statue which stood astride the harbor of Rhodes, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Since 1903 the words have hung within Lady Liberty’s pedestal. They read:

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!”

As someone who was in the Pentagon on 9/11, two corridors away from the point of impact, I reject the hypocrisy of those hiding their craven bigotry under the flag of national security. I stand with the Mother of Exiles. I welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. I live for the day when we once again open that golden door.

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Posted in Blog 9 months, 3 weeks ago at 10:59 am.

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