Statue of Liberty reopens on Independence Day (+video)
The Statue of Liberty reopening was a sign of recovery as the nation used the day to celebrate its independence in a wide variety of ways — from fireworks tributes to fallen firefighters to parades, concerts, and hot-dog eating contests.
The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island as Americans across the country celebrated freedom and President Barack Obama urged citizens to live up to the words of the Declaration of Independence.Skip to next paragraph
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The reopening was a sign of recovery as the nation used the day to celebrate its independence in a wide variety of ways — from a solemn fireworks tribute to fallen firefighters to traditional parades and concerts to competitive hot dog eating.
In New York, a large crowd gathered for the holiday and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Liberty Island with federal officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Lines stretched blocks long for the boat, which left from Battery Park in Manhattan.
Rodney and Judy Long, of Charlotte, N.C., were the first people in line for the boat called Lady Liberty. They couldn't get tickets to climb to the top of the statue, but they were just glad to be there for the big reopening, they said.
"It's perfect timing for it to reopen. It's really a symbol for what the country is all about," Rodney Long said.
In Arizona, sober tributes were planned for 19 firefighters who died this week battling a blaze near Yarnell. Boston prepared to host its first large gathering since the marathon bombing that killed three and injured hundreds, and Philadelphia, Washington and New Orleans planned large holiday concerts.
Competitive eating Sonya Thomas defended her women's titles at the 98th annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., devoured 36 and three-quarters hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to win the women's competition at the annual Fourth of July Coney Island event.
The defending men's champion is Joey Chestnut and he won, for the seventh time, eating a record 69 hot dogs.