‘Lady Liberty’ Event Program Captures History, Pride

‘Lady Liberty’ Event Program Captures History, Pride

This is the third and final story in a three-part series featuring words from ephemera collector Michael Ragsdale.  Ragsdale has been a collector of New York City event-specific paper ephemera and autographs since 1997.  He started collecting the items for fun while working as a cameraman capturing various events for  C-SPAN and others. Ragsdale hobby took  a new direction on the morning of September 11, 2001, when he began two aftermath-related collecting efforts, both important and unique.

Aug. 3, 2004 led to finding one of my favorite pieces during my seven-year effort of collecting paper history of the 9/11 aftermath. I was on Liberty Island filming for C-SPAN the reopening of the Statue of Liberty, initially closed to the public for security reasons after the 2001 terror strikes.

Because members of the media were required to get there hours before the event to setup (we even had our own boat ride), I was able to secure several pieces of event memorabilia, including an official program featuring an image of Lady Liberty by artist Peter Max.

 The historic celebration began with a group of red berets singing "This Is My Country" in acapella, followed by an introduction by CNN anchor Aaron Brown, the event's MC.  

Other speakers included U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, former Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former president of WNET-TV, William F. Baker. There was also plenty of patriotic music from the Army’s 319th Statue of Liberty Band, the 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus and the U.S. Army Band Herald Trumpeters.  The entire affair ended with  three New York City fire boats putting on an impressive show with arches of colored red and white water. Very cool. 

 This was another memorable post-9/11 event I am sure a lot of people will remember, including me. 

By Michael Ragsdale