by Ron Phipps, 2012 Immediate Past President, NAR
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
You may recognize this inscription from the Statue of Liberty. Since 1886, “Liberty Enlightening the World” has stood witness facing southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean. The statue has welcomed visitors and new citizens.
She has spoken loudly in silence.
She has flown without wings.
She has inspired without voice.
She has troubled our conscious without hesitation.
She has endured without complaint.
The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of our freedom and our Republic… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
What many people do not know is that there are broken chains at her feet. They are not visible from the ground level. They represent the chains of oppression and tyranny. They represent chains of the past. They represent the denial of rights: of life, of liberty, and of property. That is buying, owning, and selling property.
Lady Liberty is also one of our most notable images of persistence and perseverance. Just as our freedom was WON, it must also be protected and defended. We do that. But, she is a witness to an important life lesson. She and her loyal American believers can endure the ravages of war, the challenges of economic strife, and the pestilence of political partisanship.
She stands tall and proud day and night, rain or sun. She reminds us that a nation of homeowners is unconquerable. She gives us appreciation not only for the ebb and flow of value, but also the importance of the foundation of homeownership, for us as individual families, and as a nation.
One additional observation about the broken chain at her feet: We need to remember the links of the past to make sure that we are masters of our future rather than enslaved by it.
The light of freedom is lit and the doorway to private property ownership is open.