U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and other dignitaries attended a reopening event early Thursday, the Department of the Interior said in a news release.
"It is hard to imagine a more appropriate or powerful way to commemorate our nation's founding than to reopen the Statue of Liberty, which is a symbol throughout the world of the freedom America cherishes," Jewell said. "Today, Lady Liberty also stands as a sign of the resilience of the region -- an area so badly battered by Hurricane Sandy nine months ago, but that is on the rebound thanks to the sacrifices and dedication of so many people."
The Interior Department estimated Liberty and Ellis Islands suffered about $77 million in damage during Hurricane Sandy.
"National parks like ours belong to the whole nation, but Lady Liberty really speaks to the whole world. She inspires lovers of freedom on every continent," said Dave Luchsinger, superintendent of Statue of Liberty National Monument. "We are delighted to reopen Liberty Island in time for our nation's birthday."
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