BY CAROLINE VAKIL
Following a brief stint in New York City, a second Statue of Liberty has found a permanent home in front of the French ambassador’s home in Washington, D.C. for the next 10 years.
An inauguration ceremony was held on Wednesday for the original statue’s “little sister” with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, marking over 135 years since the first Statue of Liberty was unveiled in New York. The inauguration on Wednesday coincides with Bastille Day.
During remarks on Wednesday, Blinken said that “the United States has no greater or more enduring ally than France.” He spoke about the two countries’ efforts to work closely together in initiatives such as “revitalizing and modernizing NATO” and “deepening our cooperation with the European Union.”
France’s National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) loaned the nine-foot bronze replica to the U.S. It was made in 2009 and had been on display at the museum’s gardens since 2011. The statue made a pit stop to New York City so it could be there during the Fourth of July.
According to CNN, the statue is one-sixteenth the size of the original, weighs 1,000 pounds and was created using a 1878 plaster model from sculptor Auguste Bartholdi.
The original statue arrived in the New York Harbor in 1885, 20 years after slavery was abolished in the U.S.
French Ambassador Philippe Etienne told CNN “it means a lot” that the statue is now in the U.S., saying it’s “a strong reminder … of the friendship between the French people and the American people.”