LADY LIBERTY Terrorism warnings fail to deter statue reopening
The ceremonial reopening of the pedestal is set for today.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Statue of Liberty is ready to welcome the world's huddled masses for the first time since the national monument was shuttered after the 2001 terror attacks, though the statue's crown will remain out of reach for now.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Interior Secretary Gale Norton were expected to join a crowd today for the ceremonial reopening of the pedestal.
Also expected was an Army band and chorus, and a flyover by New Jersey Air National Guard fighter jets.
Plans to reopen Lady Liberty's pedestal to the public went ahead despite new warnings over the weekend of possible terrorist attacks on financial centers in nearby Manhattan, Newark, N.J., and Washington, D.C.
"I think it shows the world that liberty cannot be intimidated," Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson said during a media preview tour Monday.
"I think it's significant that despite the raising of the alert levels, we are still going ahead with the reopening."
Observation deck open
The public will be allowed to enjoy the panoramic view from the observation deck at the top of the pedestal, about 16 stories above ground.
The rest of the statue will continue to be off-limits because it cannot accommodate large numbers of tourists and does not meet safety codes.
Tightened security measures at the 117-year-old national monument include a new anti-bomb detection device that blows a blast of air into clothing and then checks for particles of explosive residue.
Bomb-sniffing dogs also were present during the preview.
Liberty Island, the statue's 12-acre home, was closed for 100 days after Sept. 11, 2001.