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Life of Lady Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from France to America in 1886, celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2011.

The head of the Statue of Liberty, designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, is seen inside a Paris studio around 1880. The Statue of Liberty was presented to the U.S. in 1886 by the Franco-American Union to commemorate the American Revolution.

Anonymous / AGENCE PAPYRUS

Segments of the Statue of Liberty are labored on during its construction in the workshop of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi around 1880 in Paris, France.

Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive

The hand of the Statue of Liberty, holding a tablet, is seen inside a Paris studio around 1875. The date "July 4, 1776" was later inscribed upon Lady Liberty's tablet, representing the date on which the American colonies declared their independence from England.

Anonymous / AGENCE PAPYRUS

French architect and sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904), creator of the Statue of Liberty, stands for a portrait in 1870. At right, a photograph of the invitation by Ferdinand de Lesseps for presentation of statue of Liberty to American minister Mr. Morton on July 4, 1884, in Paris, France.

Rue Des Archives / Hulton Archive

The torch and part of the arm of the Statue of Liberty are on display at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The statue's torch and flame represent the idea of enlightenment.

Buyenlarge / Archive Photos

Lower Manhattan, New York City, in 1928. At far right is the tower of the Woolworth building and in left center is the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. The Manhattan Bridge is in the foreground and the Brooklyn Bridge is at center.

President Franklin Roosevelt speaks at the 50th anniversary celebration of the erection of the Statue of Liberty in New York on Oct. 28, 1936. He declared that, "To the message of Liberty which America sends to all the world must be added her message of peace."

Preston Stroup / AP

Merchant ships lie at anchor in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on Sept. 16, 1946. The ships are tied up because of waterfront strikes. Only a few tugs and ferries are on the move. Given her prominent position in New York Harbor, Lady Liberty has greeted generations of immigrants upon their arrival in America.

Victor / AP

The New York skyline is seen behind the Statue of Liberty on June 18, 1974, just over a year after the twin towers of the World Trade Center were dedicated.

AP

The torch from the Statue of Liberty is lowered during repairs on the famous lady in July 1984. Following the statue's 125th anniversary celebration, the interior will be closed for a year-long, $27.25 million renovation that includes safety improvements. Liberty Island will remain open during the project.

New York Daily News Archive / New York Daily News

First lady Nancy Reagan and schoolchildren wave from the crown of the Statue of Liberty during the monument's centennial celebration on July 4, 1986, in New York City.

Susan Ragan / AP

Charlie DeLeo stands on top of the Statue of Liberty in 1990. DeLeo, who worked for 27 years as a maintenance man for the Statue of Liberty, called the statue "The Lady." Even after his retirement in 1999, he keeps coming back as a volunteer.

Timothy White / CHARLIE DELEO

Visitors look out from the interior of the Statue of Liberty on June 22, 1995, in New York City. Visitors must climb 354 stairs -- about 22 stories -- to reach Lady Liberty's crown.

New York Daily News Archive / New York Daily News

The Statue of Liberty is seen Sept. 15, 2001-- just days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- from Jersey City, N.J., against a smoke-filled backdrop of the lower Manhattan skyline.

Dan Loh / AP

Fireworks illuminate the skies around the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor during the annual fireworks display July 4, 2004, in New York City.

Monika Graff / Getty Images North America

The original torch for the Statue of Liberty is displayed inside a new museum on Aug. 2, 2004, on Liberty Island in New York City. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the statue was closed to tourists but the pedestal reopened to the public on Aug. 3, 2004. Today, visitors must go through a security screening before boarding the ferry that takes them to the statue.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images North America

Visitors photograph the Statue of Liberty as they prepare to arrive at Liberty Island via ferry from Manhattan on Aug. 3, 2004. The Statue's pedestal was re-opened to the public that day for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Timothy A. Clary / AFP

Clouds hover over downtown Manhattan as seen from the crown of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 2009, in New York City. The crown of the famous statue, which was closed to the public after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was opened again on the nation's Independence Day for a limited number of visitors each day. The base, pedestal and outdoor observation deck were reopened in 2004, but the crown remained off-limits.

Pool / Getty Images North America

U.S. Park Police officer Chris Kyriakou walks down the circular staircase from the crown of the Statue of Liberty on May 8, 2009, in New York City. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the crown of the famous statue, which was closed to the public after 9/11, re-opened on July 4, 2009, to a limited number of visitors a day.

Chris Hondros / Getty Images North America

Chris Bartnick, left, hoists his daughter Aleyna, 8, both of Merrick, N.Y., for a better view from the crown of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 2009, in New York City.

Pool / Getty Images North America

The Statue of Liberty stands before lower Manhattan just before sunset in New York on Aug. 24, 2011.

Lucas Jackson / X90066

The Statue of Liberty is seen beneath the rising moon on Aug. 12, 2011, in New York City.

Mario Tama / Getty Images North America