Not that long ago immigrants sailed in to NY harbor and were greeted by Lady Liberty standing tall and proud. They rejoiced, thankful for her gift: liberty, and its sister, freedom.

Countless people of all cultures and ethnicities have gazed on her beauty and majesty. My generation considers her to be a mighty lady, but do we truly understand what the Statue of Liberty represents?

America held the hope of a new start and a better life, where men, woman, and children had a chance for a fair shot . No King taxing them to death, no tyrant ruling with an iron fist, no religious faction lusting after power. A world where people were free and could become something they could not be in their own country: that was America.

Their government didn’t care about them, was controlling them, shackling them, and stealing their money through taxation.

Perhaps those hopeful immigrants were wrong about the green lady – maybe liberty is just an illusion. When they arrived on America’s shores they were abruptly thrown into a chaotic scene they could never have prepared themselves for in advance.

Many floundered, finding America and her promise of a better life too difficult to navigate.

People from around the world came together and comingled around the idea of betterment: of country, and of self. Betterment is a worthwhile enough endeavor, and if that was the only idea America represented, it would be enough.

But America also represented the hopes of the world: the desire for freedom, the hunger for education, the love of liberty, and a leveled playing field in a fair system of justice. All people on earth want that.

Most people are generous are willing to share their abundance with others. Having left their homeland of broken dreams, they led the way in our world, and held the light of hope for all to aspire.

The same light lady Liberty held at the end of her torch reaching for the stars, welcoming new Americans to her shores. The Statue of Liberty didn’t just represent America . . . she represented all people in our world, and she still does.