The Statue of Liberty, which was closed to the public after Superstorm Sandy caused New York Harbor to flood nine months ago, reopened to the public on Thursday, just before 4th of July celebrations kicked off in the city.
The reopening of the Statue of Liberty, which is believed to have supported more than 2,200 jobs before it was shut down, is a sign that the nation is recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, CNN said in a report.
"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," Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Liberty Island, CNN reported.
"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," Jewell said.
The Statue of Liberty was shut down in October just one day after it reopened following a year-long renovation program. According to reports, this is the statue’s fourth reopening since 1986.
While the statue itself withstood Hurricane Sandy's onslaught last October, about 75 percent of Liberty Island’s 12 acres was inundated during the storm, which damaged phone lines, and electrical, water and sewage systems on the island, media reports noted.
The statue attracts nearly four million visitors every year, and Thursday’s reopening had about 17,500 visitors lining up to see the iconic structure. Interior department data, cited by CNN, shows that the Statue of Liberty contributed $174 million to the New York area economy in 2011.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, during a function to mark the reopening of the statue, said that efforts have been taken to protect the statue from future calamities.
"We've not only repaired damage from Sandy, but we've also taken steps to protect Liberty Island from major storms in the future, just as we're doing in the rest of our city," Bloomberg said, according to CNN.
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.