The sky was dark when the Lady awoke. But it was not night.
The clouds that blew from the city burned her eyes. A sad tear fell first from one eye and then the other from beneath her crowned head. Lamp still held high, with her other hand she gathered the hem of her dress and stepped down from her place. She had been standing on that same spot, perfectly still, since the day she was put there long, long ago.
“Give me you tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free...”
By the light of her lamp the Lady crossed the river to where the clouds came from. And she came to the place. She stepped over the high wall of shattered glass and steel and stone and turned slowly around in the empty place where the two shining towers had stood tall. Ash and dust rose around her. Amid the rubble and twisted steel, two beams still stood and formed a cross.
After a moment the Lady took a few steps toward the capital of the Land. She stooped down and shined her lamp inside the wound in the side of the building there. When she stood upright, the Lady lifted her lamp in the direction of the President’s house. All was well there. That house would stand.
She passed her light over the building where the nation’s leaders work together. She found it, too, was still safe.
Then she held her lamp aloft and surveyed the whole land, from sea to sea. Her flickering light fell on empty streets and shined in through the windows of houses all across the nation.
The Lady carefully stepped over silent cities and crossed rivers until she came to the field where men and women had given their lives in brave sacrifice for her. The gash in the ground looked to her like the crack in the bell that used to ring on her behalf.
She knew she must ring that bell again.
Beside the hall where fifty-six men had signed the Declaration the Lady stands for, she found the bell. The Lady lovingly touched the crack in the bell with her fingertips and thought of that gash in the field.
Then the Lady rang that bell.
It rang and rang.
Louder and louder...
Until its sound was carried all across the land. People stopped what they were doing and turned to listen to the bell. And as they listened, light from the Lady’s lamp shone on their faces. They lifted their eyes and watching her intently, they drifted out from their houses and came toward one another.
Joining together they watched the Lady as she passed back by the great hall where the Declaration was signed. They watched her as she went through the torn field and passed by the wounded building in the nation’s capital. They watched as she stopped again beside the river where the shining towers fell.
All across the land, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grocers and firemen, policemen and teachers, mailmen, farmers, truck drivers, doctors, railmen, and miners, and even the President watched.
Then, as the Lady crossed over the river back to her place, people everywhere lit lamps of their own and together they began to sing.
They sang louder and louder, with all their might as the Lady took her place again. And as they sang, together with the Lady, they lifted their lamps high for the whole world to see.
“I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda, 9/11/2018