Peggie Foy & The Statue of Freedom

The Statue of Freedom:

 

Editors note: On May I, 2007 an article was  published in the Jackson County Newsletter about the Statue of Freedom.  The beautiful lady that sits atop the Capital building in Washington D.C.  We received the following from Peggie Foy,  JCRW’s Past 2nd Vice President and Historian.  It is a wonderful story….
 
“Ruth;  Did you know that in the 90's the Freedom Statue was removed for refurbishing and cleaning by Erickson Air Crane of Central Point, Oregon, when my husband, Dick was managing the company? It became a national story because our company won the contract and then some congressman screamed that we might botch the job and that the military should perform the task so they took the contract away. The problem was that military pilots were not trained for the kind of work that our pilots did every day in the line of business. Senator Bob Dole, along with others, came to our rescue and we were finally awarded the contract again.
 
Now it was a Big Deal and many nay-sayers were thinking we couldn't do the job right or were waiting in the wings to say "see, I told you so." These were people unaware of how heavy-lift helicopter crews work and were very surprised when we airlifted her off without a hitch and placed her on the grounds where she was roped off while the restoration took several weeks to complete.
 
A few spouses and families went back for the resetting ceremony in front of 100,000 people gathered on the mall. The celebration was held on the steps of the Capitol where they hold the inaugurations. Our pilot's families and company people were escorted to a special seating area just before the ceremony. There was a military band, speeches by many, including President Clinton, and then for a spellbound moment in time our helicopter lifted Lady Freedom up from the ground and placed her on the rotunda again. The placement took less than ten minutes, the crowd went wild, and it was all broadcast on national TV.
 
Before the Lady was returned to her place of honor, I was privileged to do what very few people have done or will ever do...climb the stairs to the top of the rotunda, climb up the scaffolding outside, and stand on the platform where the statue usually sits. There is a piece of paper now under the feet of the statue with our signatures on it  which will be "entombed" for 300 years when the Lady will need cleaning again. It still blows my mind that my ancestors will be able to read about us and see our signatures.”
 
                                                                                         “Signed Peggie”
 
She sits atop the Dome of the U.S. Capitol
 
 The Bronze Statue of Freedom by Thomas Crawford is the crowning feature of the dome of the United States Capitol. The statue is a classical female figure of Freedom wearing flowing draperies. Her right hand rests upon the hilt of a sheathed sword; her left holds a laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States with thirteen stripes. Her helmet is encircled by stars and features a crest composed of an eagle's head, feathers, and talons, a reference to the costume of Native Americans. A brooch inscribed "U.S." secures her fringed robes. She stands on a cast-iron globe encircled with the national motto, E Pluribus Unum. The lower part of the base is decorated with fasces and wreaths. Ten bronze points tipped with platinum are attached to her headdress, shoulders, and shield for protection from lightning. The bronze statue stands 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 15,000 pounds. Her crest rises 288 feet above the east front plaza.
 
 
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