Congress To Debate Reopening Of Lady Liberty

July 8, 2007

The Statue of Liberty has something on her mind, and it's bugging one New York Congressman who says it's time tourists are allowed high above the American icon.

"If visitors, both American and visitors from foreign lands, can't come here and walk up in to the crown of Lady Liberty they are just not getting the whole experience," said Congressmen Anthony Weiner.

It all started when the government closed the entire statue after September 11th. After millions in security upgrades, the National Park Service began letting tourists up to the statue's pedestal in 2004. However, to this day, the 111 foot climb to the crown is off-limits.

"I think if the security is good enough I think we should be able to go up there," said tourist Reny Varughese.

To some of Lady Liberty's guests, it's downright Un-American.

"I think it belongs to Americans. It was given to Americans. We should be able to go up and see what it looks like up there," said Denise Nalley.

While the pedestal is as high as you can go, the National Park Service says this is not really about terrorism. As it turns out, Lady Liberty is not quite up to code.

"Our primary concern is the health and safety of our visitors," said statue superintendent Cynthia Garrett.

Garrett says the winding spiral staircase to the top doesn't meet current building requirements, posing a danger to visitors.

"The park service is exactly right. It's a narrow, cramped space, but frankly that's part of the charm in it," said statue visitor Richard Rollen.

Charm or potential harm? Congress is planning to hold hearings on whether this uniquely American view will ever be seen again.

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