Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

4 Jul

(Note:  This is one of the first blogs I ever wrote.  Since there were only about 3 people reading my blog back then, I thought it would be okay to repost.)

A few months ago, my husband and I visited the Statue of Liberty.  He has never been, and I haven’t been since I was 18 (a few years ago…) While the Lady looks great, I was most taken by the level of security that surrounds her. 

In order to board the ferry to get to the Statue, we went through “airport security”.  You know, take off all your coats, hats, gloves, belts, watches, etc. and walk through the metal detector.  Now since I have my friend The Pacemaker, I don’t get to walk through a metal detector.  I get the pat down.  Every time.  I’ve done it so many times it doesn’t bother me at all (although sometimes you get the aggressive lady who really wants to make sure you’re not packin’ in your crotch!!) It always makes me laugh me when I tell the first security guy I have a pacemaker and he stutters and says, “You??  Um, o-okay.” And I enjoy watching the looks on strangers faces who stare, and I know they’re thinking “She doesn’t look like a terrorist, but they must’ve found SOMETHING or they wouldn’t be doing that!”Anyway, we get through that, get re-bundled because it’s about 30 degrees outside, and get on the boat. 

 Once we get over to the Statue we find that in order to enter the museum and go to the observation deck (about 5 stories up) we’ll need to go through another security line.  So we wait for about 40 minutes in a covered tent (not heated, but at least not bone-cold).  The security area is in another closed tent, and you cannot see what they’re doing.  Once you finally go through the door you realize that’s it’s another “airport security” line, but this one has a bonus:  The Puffer.  If you haven’t experienced The Puffer, it’s a little closet that you stand in while air blows on your to make sure you don’t have any explosive residue on your clothes.  It’s easy, but it takes a minute to decide that you’re clean and there’s this moment when you’re standing there thinking “what if they mistake those muffin crumbs for something worse?” So we get through The Puffer, and then it’s the pat down all over again. 

Finally, after about 1 1/2 hours, we get to enter the Statue of Liberty.As we stood in line, I watched parents trying to explain to their kids what was going on…what we were waiting for.  I am struck by the fact that Sweet Pea will grow up knowing nothing different than long security lines everywhere you go.  Taking off your shoes at the airport…walking through metal detectors…even standing in The Puffer.  This is her world.  And it makes me very, very sad. 

So we climb 197 stairs to get to the deck, and we look back at lower Manhattan which is decidedly bare without the Towers, and we contemplate Liberty.  And I realize that little by little, there’s less and less of it.  And that in order to keep it, I have to give mine away, in a pat down and a puffer.

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7 Responses to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

  1. Daniel July 4, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    Never forget… “decidedly bar without the Towers…” http://www.bentpage.wordpress.com.

  2. Andrea's Sweet Life July 4, 2008 at 2:47 pm #

    It always strikes me when I watch an old movie (and even old episodes of Seinfeld or Friends) and they show people milling about in the airport terminal. It wasn’t even that long ago, but it’s hard to remember anything different than long lines!

    We definitely pay a price for our freedom – it’s well worth it!

  3. anymommy July 4, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    I’m really glad that you reposted this – it’s great and I hardly ever have time to go back and look at archives. I’ve experienced the puffer. It always makes me think as well. I’ve traveled a lot in my life and I feel sad every single time I step off a plane and no one is there to hug me. I just remember that feeling of people greeting loved ones at the gate. Times really do change.

  4. Julie July 6, 2008 at 8:25 pm #

    I was pregnant with Hannah when 9/11 happened. In the days and months that followed, I remember thinking, “My little girl will never know what it was like to just leisurely take an airplane flight with no thought to anything evil happening.” I too realized that “this is her world.” She will never know any different and that makes me sad too–

  5. jane July 7, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    KM,
    I read this to my entire family in Austin on the 4th. They loved it – not a sound could be heard as I read. I have a feeling you may get more people reading your blog…..Such a thoughtful post.

  6. Marinka July 7, 2008 at 5:10 pm #

    I think about that sometimes, when we see the heavily armed tunnels in NYC, how this is so striking for me, but yet nothing unusual for my kids. But I am optimistic that this won’t be the way forever and that in our children’s lifetimes, they will see a better world.

  7. Import from China July 29, 2008 at 12:59 am #

    Great info – keep up the great work.

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