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Statue of Liberty reopens as U.S. salutes July 4

  • Leticia Baes, of the Phillipines, poses for a photo at the bases of the Statue of Liberty, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at  in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Leticia Baes, of the Phillipines, poses for a photo at the bases of the Statue of Liberty, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Rodney and Judy Long, of Charlotte, N.C., take a photo of the Statue of Liberty as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at  in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Rodney and Judy Long, of Charlotte, N.C., take a photo of the Statue of Liberty as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • The Statue of Liberty stands against a clear sky Thursday, July 4, 2013, on the first day it opened to tourists since Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor. The statue was spared in the fall storm, but most of the national landmark's 12-acre island took a serious beating. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    The Statue of Liberty stands against a clear sky Thursday, July 4, 2013, on the first day it opened to tourists since Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor. The statue was spared in the fall storm, but most of the national landmark's 12-acre island took a serious beating. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Visitors to fhe Statue of Liberty take photos as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Visitors to fhe Statue of Liberty take photos as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Visitors to fhe Statue of Liberty take photos as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Visitors to fhe Statue of Liberty take photos as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Visitors to the Statue of Liberty take photos from the pedestal, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Visitors to the Statue of Liberty take photos from the pedestal, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Photographers take photos of people posing for pictures a the base of the Statue of Liberty, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped Liberty Island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Photographers take photos of people posing for pictures a the base of the Statue of Liberty, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped Liberty Island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Henry Alvarado, a member of the Granaderos y Damas de Galvez, stands at attention with other living history members during the national anthem during a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Henry Alvarado, a member of the Granaderos y Damas de Galvez, stands at attention with other living history members during the national anthem during a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Ed Lunderman, a member of a Living History Musket Detail, fires his musket to represent "the Shot Heard Around the World" during a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Ed Lunderman, a member of a Living History Musket Detail, fires his musket to represent "the Shot Heard Around the World" during a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • A member of the Sons of the American Revolution San Antonio Chapter carries a wreath to a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    A member of the Sons of the American Revolution San Antonio Chapter carries a wreath to a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Visitors to the Statue of Liberty disembark onto Liberty Island from the first ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at  in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Visitors to the Statue of Liberty disembark onto Liberty Island from the first ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, center, reviews a honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

    Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, center, reviews a honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

  • Leticia Baes, of the Phillipines, poses for a photo at the bases of the Statue of Liberty, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at  in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Rodney and Judy Long, of Charlotte, N.C., take a photo of the Statue of Liberty as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at  in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • The Statue of Liberty stands against a clear sky Thursday, July 4, 2013, on the first day it opened to tourists since Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor. The statue was spared in the fall storm, but most of the national landmark's 12-acre island took a serious beating. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Visitors to fhe Statue of Liberty take photos as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Visitors to fhe Statue of Liberty take photos as they arrive on the first tourist ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Visitors to the Statue of Liberty take photos from the pedestal, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Photographers take photos of people posing for pictures a the base of the Statue of Liberty, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped Liberty Island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Henry Alvarado, a member of the Granaderos y Damas de Galvez, stands at attention with other living history members during the national anthem during a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • Ed Lunderman, a member of a Living History Musket Detail, fires his musket to represent "the Shot Heard Around the World" during a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • A member of the Sons of the American Revolution San Antonio Chapter carries a wreath to a Fourth of July Patriotic Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Thursday, July 4, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • Visitors to the Statue of Liberty disembark onto Liberty Island from the first ferry to leave Manhattan, Thursday, July 4, 2013 at  in New York. The Statue of Liberty finally reopened on the Fourth of July months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor as Americans across the country marked the holiday with fireworks and barbecues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, center, reviews a honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

The Statue of Liberty reopened on the Fourth of July, eight months after Superstorm Sandy shuttered the national symbol of freedom, as Americans across the country celebrated with fireworks and parades and President Obama urged citizens to live up to the words of the Declaration of Independence.

Hundreds lined up yesterday to be among the first to board boats destined for Lady Liberty, including New Yorker Heather Leykam and her family.

“This, to us, Liberty Island, is really about a rebirth,” said Leykam, whose mother’s home was destroyed during the storm. “It is a sense of renewal for the city and the country. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

The island was decorated with star-spangled bunting, but portions remain blocked off with large construction equipment, and the main ferry dock was boarded up. Repairs to brick walkways and docks were ongoing. But much of the work has been completed since Sandy swamped the 12-acre island in New York Harbor, and visitors were impressed.

“It’s stunning, it’s beautiful,” said Elizabeth Bertero, 46, of California’s Sonoma County. “They did a great job rebuilding. You don’t really notice that anything happened.”

The statue itself was unharmed, but the land took a beating. Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris.

“It is one of the most enduring icons of America, and we pulled it off – it’s open today,” National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said. “Welcome.”

The statue was open for a single day last year – Oct. 28, the day before Sandy struck. It had been closed the previous year for security upgrades. Neighboring Ellis Island remains closed and there has been no reopening date set.

Obama, meantime, urged Americans to work to secure liberty and opportunity for their own children and future generations in his weekly radio address. The first family hosted U.S. servicemen and women at the White House for a cookout.

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