LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Get complete story of Statue of Liberty

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A letter in the July 20 U-B states President Obama offended the French with comments he made in his July 1 speech titled "Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform" delivered at the American University School of International Service located in Washington, D.C.

The letter continues by stating "it would be well for the president's fact-checkers and speech writers to be sure the information in his messages is correct and also that we who are listening and reading determine for ourselves what is accurate and what is not."

I am one of those listener-readers and my first thought reading the letter was to factually question what the letter writer was sharing.

The letter states President Obama was incorrect in saying in his speech: "it was the immigrants to this country who raised the funds to pay for the Statue of Liberty."

He did not say that.

I read his entire speech online and he said: "... the Statue of Liberty -- which actually was funded in part by small donations from people across America."

He said people across America in part helped pay for the statue, which is correct.

The writer states: "The statue was officially presented to the United States minister to France in Paris on July 4, 1884, as a gift of friendship."

In fact, the story of why the statue came into being had less to do with Franco-American friendship and more to do with the ending of the Franco-Prussian war and resulting needs associated with the creation of France's Third Republic.

The letter states France paid for the statue and America paid for the foundation and the base. True, that was the original agreement. However, the letter also states Joseph Pulitzer launched a campaign to raise funds for the pedestal. Not exactly.

He did so after public apathy, including a rejection for funding by Congress failed to raise the necessary funding.

Pulitzer, a Hungarian immigrant, recognized opportunity and subsequently came to the rescue. He stepped in to raise funds for the statue base, and in doing so increased the circulation of his newspaper -- the St. Louis Dispatch -- and at the same time criticized the wealthy American businessmen who conspicuously chose to ignore the statue's financial plight. Pulitzer successfully raised the necessary funds for completion of the foundation and base from everyday citizens from across the country.

Go to web and find Your Complete Guide to the Parks (ohranger.com) and read the complicated history of the Statue of Liberty.

R.L. McFarland
Walla Walla

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