The Statue of Liberty finally reopened today, months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor, as Americans across the country marked the Fourth of July with fireworks and barbecues. A large crowd gathered for the holiday and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Liberty Island with federal officials and New York's mayor. Lines stretched blocks long for the boat from Battery Park. "It's perfect timing," said the first tourist in line. "It's really a symbol for what the country is all about."
While the statue itself was spared in the fall storm, Lady Liberty's island took a serious beating. Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris. Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are ongoing, but much of work has been completed.