Rev. Emilio Chaviano
Chaplain, Col. USAF (Ret)
Sept.. 11, 2004
Epworth Village Retirement Community
I am made of 62,000 pounds of copper and 250,000 pounds of steel. My
foundation contains 54 million pounds of concrete. I was officially dedicated on
October 28th of 1886. Since then I have been a symbol of international friendship,
justice and freedom. I am the Statue of Liberty.
Yes, I am made of copper, steel and concrete, but deep within me lives the collective
spirit of the American people. For generations I have welcomed multitude of
women, children and men who have come to our shores seeking to fulfill their
They all come because my message has been broadcast to the four corners of the
world .... I shout to all who would listen:
"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!"
My main job is to represent this nation and its people and to remind all generations
that our freedom is a precious gift from God. It is not to be taken lightly or for
granted since our liberty was paid with the blood of countless brave American
patriots. I am the Statue of Liberty!
While Americans work, play or sleep I remain on guard. It is my duty to ensure that
the blessings of liberty reach every corner of our land. It is also my duty to welcome
those who come seeking refuge and the American Way of Life. I am Lady Liberty.
I have enemies who seek to bring me down. Their hatred can't reach me for I stand
above the clouds and my torch receives its light from heaven. My eyes are sharp and
vigilant. My vision extends from east to west... from north to south. I've seen the
glory of the coming of the Lord. I have also seen forces of evil attacking our people.
I promise you that goodness shall prevail. My light shall overcome darkness. I am
When I was dedicated I took a vow to defend this land against all enemies
... foreign and domestic ... against those who simply do not understand the
meaning of America. My heart is kind and full of compassion, but I also
believe in a system of fair justice.
I am the Statue of Liberty. Three years ago I stood guard over our nation. Then
suddenly my eyes saw in the distance a sight I could never have imagined. In a matter
of minutes the Twin Towers in Manhattan were engulfed in fire and smoke. I could
not believe my eyes .... was this a bad dream.-1 tried to wake up, but I was already
awake ...I never sleep. It was a tragic reality unfolding before my eyes and the eyes of
the American people.
I am Lady Liberty....and I cried. Yes, it is possible for a lady made of copper, steel
and concrete to shed a tear. But it was not just one tear or two ... it was a torrent of
sorrow and grief and it has not yet stopped.
At a distance I could see innocent people running for safety and thousands giving up
their souls to Almighty God. May they rest in peace eternally. I could also see men and
women wearing uniforms offerings their own lives trying to rescue the wounded. I felt
so helpless and paralyzed. I was violated... violated by people with ideas so opposite
I am Liberty. Was my invitation to the world to come to our land responsible for
this unimaginable act of terror? Should I remove the inscription at my foot? No, we
must remain America and I will remain Liberty inviting all who would come ... the
tired, the poor, the homeless ... regardless of their race, gender or creed.
That was the 11 th day of September of the year 2001. Those who make decisions closed
all access to me. They believed that perhaps I could also become a target because of all
that I represent. Finally, almost a year later I can receive visitors from all over the world
and I can continue to tell the story of the invincible American people. I hear in their
voices words encouraging us to remain faithful to the task of freedom. Their faces tell
me I am their only hope. I am Liberty.
Today, on this 11 to day of September I invite you to pay tribute to the memory of all
who perished three years ago. My heart has been wounded and my tears still flow. But
today my torch bums brighter than ever. It remains a light in the darkness and it
glimmers with red, white and blue.
I invite you to honor the memory of the fallen with your resolve to keep our land free
from the paralysis of fear. I urge you to remain vigilant with me but continue to welcome
the stranger and extend always your hand of friendship. To fail at these tasks would bring
dishonor to our dead.
I am The Statue of Liberty....I stand with you and with those who now rest from
Yes, many think I am just a lifeless statute. They are wrong. I am each of you... and all
of us make up a nation Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.
Today is Patriot's Day and our duty is to PRAY AND REMEMBER!
This document is provided courtesy of
First United Methodist Church
of Miami, Florida