West Seattle, Washington
… as of about quarter past 6 tonight, she is indeed. 11 PM UPDATE – More below, including the first-ever WSB video clips:
It was a short but glorious rededication, before a hearteningly sized crowd, serenaded by patriotic favorites from the West Seattle Big Band, regaled with blessedly short (the sound system wasn’t projecting very well) speeches by Mayor Nickels and Councilmember Rasmussen. But just before the gala unveiling — came the reveiling, or should we say the preveiling — thanks to Dan for these pre-ceremony photos:
Tonight’s ceremony managed to mix joy and solemnity without ever striking the wrong note: the joy of the recast statue’s unveiling, the solemnity of the 9/11 anniversary. The mayor led the crowd in a moment of silence, and noted the presence of more than a few Seattle police and firefighters — including a city fireboat’s spray of salute offshore — as well as Boy Scouts on hand in honor of the fact that the original statue was a gift from their organization more than half a century ago. Maybe we’re just mushy at heart, but when the mayor read from the Declaration of Independence, we got all teary. It was just one of those nights … another crystal-clear sky and blazing September sun, just like the original 9/11, but this time, the focus lingered on who had arrived, rather than who had gone.
ADDENDUM: The video camera we purchased from the proceeds of WSB Pledge Day two weeks ago arrived via FedEx barely an hour before our crew headed for Alki tonight. We promise future endeavors will be of much better quality, but despite its amateurishness we want to share some of tonight’s video anyway — bear with us — first the unveiling and the mayor’s Declaration reading; check back for a couple more …
Next clip features Jen VanOrnum talking to our videographer about the Alki Elementary kids’ art project shown off at Lady Liberty’s base tonight:
Last addition — Bob Bollen sent a few pix (thank you!!!!) — first an excellent closeup of the guest dignitaries; then, the beautiful offshore sight during the dedication:
Stopped by the new Pacino’s Coffee on Delridge to check out an e-mail tip from a Pacino’s customer who stopped by two days running, found it closed, and wondered what was going on. There’s now a printed sign on all of its windows saying CLOSED FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS/SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE/THANKS FOR YOUR BUSINESS/SEE YOU SOON.
Jo Ofsthus from “Bring Miss Liberty Home NOW!” says the recast statue is being installed right now, in advance of tonight’s event. Congratulations to her group for achieving its goal, even asÃ‚Â “whatÃ‚Â happens with the statue NEXT?”Ã‚Â remains up for discussion and decision. Jo says it’s essential for everyone interested in what happens next to be at the 7 pm Thursday meeting @ Alki Bathhouse — in the comment section following this post last Friday, she wrote that the agendaÃ‚Â is expected toÃ‚Â include:
-Holly Santos from Northwest Programs for the Arts with details on moneys raised/spent/remaining.
-Past history of statue and its sentimental value to the community/city.
-Future plans for the new plaza
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an important meeting and a chance to make your voice heard.
Two big events for everyone who cares about this half-century-oldÃ‚Â West SeattleÃ‚Â icon — 6 pm tonight; 7 pm Thursday.Ã‚Â Be there. 12:30 PM UPDATE: Jo shared with us a letter she was asked to write by West Seattle’s State Rep. Joe McDermott last month. It includes history, background information, and thoughts about the statue’s future:Read More
The Alki Statue of Liberty celebration is not the only notable event happening in WS today/tonight. Here areÃ‚Â 3 other highlights, only one directly related to the fact today is the 9/11 anniversary:
1 PM: Interfaith Service for Peace in the World @ Providence Mount St. Vincent Chapel.
6 PM: Midway State performs live in-store at Easy Street in The Junction.
6 pm tonight, the new statue (below) will be unveiled on the old base, with Mayor Nickels, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the West Seattle Big Band, and many others on hand. This won’t be the end of the saga; a new pedestal and plaza for Ms. Liberty are still on the drawing board, and the Alki Bathhouse meeting @ 7 pm Thursday will dig into that. But first, let’s recap the intense past few months that brought us to this day (after years of lead-up):
EXACTLY TWO MONTHS AGO: The first public meeting called by Paul and Libby Carr to explain their new committee and the renewed push for a plaza. A few dozen people gathered by the statue base in the blazingly hot evening sun; one man wondered wistfully if at least a flag could be placed at the statue base in time for 9/11 — hope he will be able to watch the ceremony tonight!
ONE WEEK AFTER THAT: The Carrs and their team (and their new logo) appeared before the Alki Community Council. So did Parks Department point person Pamela Kliment, who announced the Bathhouse meeting that’s finally coming up this Thursday.
THE FOLLOWING WEEK: In a WS Herald letter to the editor, former Alki fixture Cindi Laws declares the statue “deserves to be set free.”
A FEW DAYS LATER: The “Bring Miss Liberty Home NOW!” faction goes public.
NOW ON TO EARLY AUGUST: The Carrs intensified their support for bringing the recast statue to the Bathhouse while the plaza plan (architect-provided art at right) proceeded.
TWO DAYS LATER: They announced the city had agreed to do just that.
FIVE DAYS AFTER THAT: Parks Department leaders announced the statue would arrive on 9/11.
AUGUST 12-SEPTEMBER 4: Things got very quiet. We routinely nagged various city folks for details of the 9/11 “homecoming,” but none were available. Finally a week ago, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen’s team sent word that the statue would be placed on the old base, rather than in the Bathhouse, and that the city would chip in new $ for the plaza project.
LAST FRIDAY: We found out more about tonight’s ceremony — the West Seattle Big Band announced its participation and (in the comments on this post) other participants were revealed.
LATER THAT DAY: The “new” statue got a test run on the “old” base, and a WSB reader sent us the photographic proof.
LAST SUNDAY: The Carrs announced the plaza group has its official nonprofit sponsor.
TONIGHT: Finally, the “where’s the statue?” signs can come down. 6 pm.