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Statue of Liberty: the history of the American symbol

For us, Paris is inextricably linked with the Eiffel Tower, Berlin with the Brandenburg Gate, Moscow with the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower, and London with Big Ben. Once in these cities, we immediately look around: where are these city symbols so important to us? So New York for all its guests is inseparable from the Statue of Liberty. Although it has long belonged not only to this wonderful city. Over time, the Statue of Liberty has become an unconditional and indisputable symbol of a huge country. And even to some extent - the whole world.

Фото: Depositphotos

There is a wonderful excursion route in France - "Wine Route of Alsace". The highlight of this tour is a visit to the ancient half-timbered town of Colmar. Once in it, it is impossible not to look into a beautiful and spacious mansion located in the very center. It was here in a fairly wealthy family in 1834 that Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the future author of the famous Statue of Liberty, was born.

Now there is a museum of the famous sculptor, on the top floor of which are placed numerous models of the “Statue”, in various attires and headdresses, as well as photographs of all stages of its manufacture and installation.

Hence, after the death of his father, Frederick went to study in Paris, and then returned here as an architect.

Then, in the 1850-ies, he went on a journey through Egypt. The pyramids, the Sphinx, the Luxor temple and the huge sculptural images amaze and fascinate him. And Frederick ignites the idea of ​​creating something just as magnificent and grand.

Here he meets a famous diplomat and entrepreneur. Ferdinand de lessepsOm, then entered into negotiations with the viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Said Pasha about getting permission to start building the Suez Canal.

And when in 1869 this construction was already approaching completion, Bartholdi received information that the Egyptian government plans to install a lighthouse in the Port Said area, at the very exit of the channel to the Mediterranean Sea. Frederick urgently goes to the construction manager Lesseps with an interesting proposal. Roughly speaking, the basis of his idea was a kind of interpretation of the sixth wonder of the world - the legendary Colossus of Rhodes, which was a grandiose structure (lighthouse) in the form of a huge sculpture of the sun god - Helios. His 36-meter figure, facing the sea and supposedly installed at the entrance to the harbor of the Greek island of Rhodes, was crowned with a crown with rays on his head and held a torch in his outstretched hand.

Bartholdi proposed to perform in Port Said a similar statue, but with the image of an Egyptian woman in traditional clothes, also with a torch in her hand, calling her the “Light of Asia” or “Egypt carrying the light of Asia” as a symbol of a special role and progress that brought the Middle East Suez Canal.

And although Lesseps accepted this idea with delight and adequately presented it to the new ruler of Egypt, Ismail Pasha, it was never implemented. Most likely because the authorities of the country did not want to incur additional costs for its construction. In the end, there was built an ordinary lighthouse, serving faithfully and to this day. Meanwhile, Bartholdi returned to his French projects and customers.

France. The birth of an idea

Soon broke out The Franco-Prussian war, and behind it came the Paris Commune. During these years, the ideas of Republican America were especially close to the French. Moreover, a round date was approaching - the 100th anniversary of the adoption of America's Declaration of Independence. It is for this anniversary that the chairman of the Franco-American Society, Edouard de Laboulay, a lawyer, historian and author of a three-volume work on American history, decides to create a thematic museum.

At this very time, after the triumphal completion of work on the construction of the Suez Canal, Lesseps returns to his homeland. He immediately takes an active part in the work of society. Since it was assumed that by such a significant date the Americans would want to erect a corresponding monument, at the same time the idea arose to do it together.

Naturally, the sculptor Frederic Bartholdi, well-known to them, is also connected to this work. In addition, as we know, there have already been certain studies on this subject. And he is reworking his Suez project, although he will then in every way deny this relationship.

Of course, in something he was right. Using only the main idea - the "woman-symbol", Bartholdi thoroughly rethought and reworked that long-standing project. First of all, Frederick gave the figure a certain dynamic.

Then in Paris, the painting by Eugene Delacroix was especially popular, in the foreground of which was depicted a beautiful woman with a tricolor republican banner in her right hand and a gun with a bayonet in her left, striving to step on the barricade through gunpowder smoke - "Freedom leading the people."

It was this striving forward, to the goal, and I tried to convey to Bartholdi in my new work. Therefore, the right foot of the sculpture is already in motion, and the left foot tramples the chains, torn at its feet, as a symbol of liberation from oppression, tyranny and slavery. This topic was particularly close to American society at that time.

In the outstretched right hand of the sculpture, he placed a torch sanctifying the path, and in his left - original tablets with the date of signing the Declaration of Independence of the United States - July 4, 1776, engraved in Roman numerals "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI", which is perceived quite naturally.

What was perceived completely naturally. After all, this heroic woman, like the Roman goddess of liberty, Libertas), was wearing them in a loose toga and shod in sandals. The image he presented actually embodied symbolic figures Colombia from the United States and the French Marianne

A crown was set on her head, framed (like diamonds) with 25 windows, with a halo of seven rays that personify the seven parts of the world.

But the most important thing is the face. And Bartholdi portrays his mother. Later, the legend will become quite popular that the model was served by a beautiful French woman. Isabella Boyer, widow of the founder of the company for the production of sewing machines Isaac Singer. But this version does not hold water. After all, to create the integrity of the image, Bertoldi needed not just a beautiful Raphael Madonna with her maternal tenderness and anxiety for the fate of the child; and not even the beautiful Frenchwoman inspired by the revolutionary impulse, calling for the barricades; and the determined and purposeful woman, corresponding to the image of Libertas. This is exactly what his mother was - Charlotte Baysser, in whose portrait he only toughened up the features.

The "face" of the Statue of Liberty. Фото: Depositphotos

Frederick was so inspired by this French-American project that he went to America with drawings and letters of recommendation in 1871, where he met with many Americans who were kind to him and his project. Probably it was then that he received orders for the production of the "Four Figures of Trumpeting Angels" for the church in Boston and the statues of General Lafayette in New York, which he completed in 1874 and 1876 respectively.

Observing then the work of New York Harbor, Bartholdi drew attention to the fact that all ships arriving in New York sailed past Bedlow Island. And therefore, during a visit to President Ulysses Grant, he discussed with him the possibility of installing the future Statue of Liberty there. To which he received a generally positive response. Bartholdi was still thinking at that time in the categories of a lighthouse, which was familiar to him - a kind of symbol of the water gate to the city. After all, these are the figures that the ships were supposed to meet at the entrance to the harbor of Rhodes, or the Suez Canal.

While Frederick was working on the technical side of this project, his organizational issues were resolved “at the highest level”. Finally, already in 1895, it was decided that by the 100 anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence of America, the French side presented America with the Statue of Liberty and organizes its manufacture, delivery and installation. The Americans, for their part, had to find a place for its installation and build a pedestal.

In both states, fundraising committees were established. Ferdinant Lessens became the head of the French committee, and the American lawyer was headed by lawyer William Evarts. An experienced entrepreneur, Lessens, in order to attract influential circles to the campaign, organizes banquets, evenings, social events, concerts, charitable donations and lotteries in France. In the French opera even a musical performance was organized, to which the famous composer Charles Gounod specially wrote an oratorio on the Statue of Liberty. He also conducted the orchestra. All this made it possible for Bartholdi to begin making sculpture in the very near future.

When erecting a structure of such height and power, the most important was the solution to the problems of its strength, rigidity and stability. Initially it was assumed that the bottom of the statue (to its middle) would be filled with sand, and only then work on the installation of a metal frame would follow. At the same time, the folds of the toga on the statue could serve as peculiar stiffening ribs.

But the famous designer Gustave Eiffel attracted to these works (later the author of the Eiffel Tower) and his collaborators suggested a different scheme: the installation of massive vertical steel supports, with an intermediate supporting frame. It was then that the flexible skeleton of the statue made of iron had to be attached to which light copper fencing sheets were hung, which were easily assembled and processing. Moreover, both the Eiffel and Bartholdi were well-known for the monuments of San Carlo Borromeo in Italy and Arminia in Germany, where similar solutions with copper plating had already been used. True, the dimensions of these structures are significantly inferior to the Statue of Liberty.

The adopted constructive decision could also ensure the complete stability of the sculpture when it oscillates from the pressure of the wind (now the range of oscillation of the figure itself reaches 7,6 cm, and the torch 12,7 cm). In fact, this project was one of the first examples of a structure in which the external elements did not perform the supporting function provided by the internal structures.

Since at that time the Statue of Liberty was the tallest structure in the world, it is natural that in its manufacture there were many other technical problems. But they were gradually resolved, and soon the French side approached the completion of the work.

America. Dream come true

In the United States was a completely different situation. Fundraising went slowly, and many openly boycotted. Since construction was supposed to be conducted in New York, many cities have withdrawn from the collection of money. In fact, the committee was active in only three places: New York, Boston and Philadelphia. An attempt was made to pass a bill on the allocation of money for construction from the budget of New York, but Governor Cleveland vetoed it. An attempt to get part of the funds from the state was also unsuccessful. In the commissions of the US Congress, opinions prevailed about the untimely construction of an “allegorical” monument at a time when the country needed monuments to the heroes of the Civil War.

The only issue that has been finally resolved is the allocation of space for construction. After Bartholdi's own visit to New York, the question of erecting a statue inside the city was removed, and the military fort Wood on Bedlow Island was finally accepted as the site of construction.

In order to somehow stir up the Americans, Bartholdi in 1876 brought to the World Exhibition in Philadelphia a model of the statue and its detail - a life-size hand with a torch.

However, the demonstration of this characteristic detail of the future sculpture did not make a proper impression either in Philadelphia or later in New York, where it was put on display in Madison Square Garden for several years. The audience could not imagine the whole sculpture as a whole, and therefore this “hand” was perceived skeptically.

And after Bartholdi decided to demonstrate the head of the statue at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1878, evil tongues started saying that “the Statue of Liberty will have a“ hand ”in New York, a“ head ”in Paris and nothing else that is. " It seemed that this project would never be implemented, and finished products would remain rusting in Paris.

In this upcoming drama, the only positive thing for Bartholdi was the construction in the same year of the beautiful “Fountain of the Capitol” in Washington, pleasing the guests of the capital to this day.

And then, quite unexpectedly, a new character appears in this story. He becomes Joseph Pulitzer - the publisher of a number of newspapers, including the very popular then The new york worldcome from a family of Hungarian Jews. The person to whom the country ultimately owes the appearance of its symbol, the journalists - the Higher School of Journalism and the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, and the world press - its yellow color.

Indignant at such a depressing attitude to the construction of the Statue of Liberty from the American side, he is joining in the implementation of this project with all the energy and enthusiasm. From the pages of their newspapers, Pulitzer appeals to US citizens with harsh criticism of their behavior (from the president to ordinary people) and an appeal to help with money to build the monument. A “duck” is launched, that the statue will generally be given to Boston, etc.

Describing in detail the building itself and surrounding it with a romantic halo, Pulitzer organizes a whole fundraising campaign. At the same time, newspapers print the names of people who donated money for the construction of the monument, among which were people who gave the committee less than one dollar, and even children. And what is most surprising, by August 1895, he managed to collect all the missing amount.

In fact, over the course of just five months, 12 thousands of donations were recorded. Two years before the events described here, the country also held an auction of various works of art, which cultural workers donated to the auctioneers. All the proceeds from their sale of money were transferred to the committee to raise funds for the construction of the monument.

Took part in it and Emma Lazarus, a poetess of Jewish origin with Portuguese roots.

Her devoted sonnet, the New Colossus (like Bartholdi, she remembered Colossus of Rhodes), received universal acclaim. The lines from this sonnet were even placed on a memorial plaque, which is now kept in the statue museum:

“Keep, ancient countries, your legendary pomp,

And give me your tired, your poor ...

And give me from the depths of the bottomless

His rogue, his people downtrodden,

Send me outcast, homeless,

I give them a golden candle at the door ... "

These lines were written by her after a wave of pogroms that swept across Europe at the end of the 1880s, as a result of which crowds of immigrants rushed to the shores of America, hoping to find a new homeland. And therefore, this sonnet made us look at the Statue of Liberty from a completely different side - as a symbol of a country ready to accept all the outcast and disadvantaged under its roof, and promising them freedom and equality on this shore. Thus, the "New Colossus" became a kind of illustration of the original name of the sculpture: "Freedom bringing light to the world."

Now it becomes completely clear why, in the western part of the Island of Freedom, memorial sculptures of these five people who made the greatest contribution to the project called “The Statue of Liberty” were installed. Eduardo de Labule, who owned the very idea of ​​building a monument. Frederick Bartholdi, the sculptor who implemented it, and Gustave Eiffel, who developed the metal frame of the sculpture. And also Emma Lazarus - poet, author of the sonnet “New Colossus” and Joseph Pulitzer - editor, organizer of the final fundraising company, for the construction of the base and pedestal of the sculpture.

And these structures themselves were designed by American architect and sculptor Richard Hunt, under whose leadership 5 August 1885 was started construction work. By 22 on April 1886, they were actually completed, along with the design of the base of the pedestal as a star with 11 rays. The height of the base with the pedestal from the ground was 47 m., Which is one meter higher than the height of the monument itself.

Фото: Depositphotos

As you know, more 4 July 1884, France officially presented the Statue of Liberty to the US ambassador. Then it was fully assembled in Paris and put on display, then dismantled in 1885 and went to New York on the military frigate Iser, divided into 350 parts and packed in 214 boxes. Assembling the statue on the pedestal took another four months. And finally, on the 28 of October 1886 of the year, a decade late, the grand opening of the Statue of Liberty was scheduled.

This event was preceded by a military parade through the streets of New York, which in the morning of this day was observed by up to a million city residents. In 12: 45, the yacht with the participants of the opening ceremony and the President of the United States Grover Cleveland went to the island from the pier of Manhattan. The company was mostly male. New York feminists tried to break through to the island, but were not allowed. Their secret representatives were only Bertoldi’s wife and Lessens’s little granddaughter. It was he who opened the celebration by giving a speech on behalf of the French side.

Bartholdi was not around. At that time, he was in the head of the sculpture, so that at a signal to cut the ropes holding the huge French flag thrown over the statue, and covering this delightful golden-orange woman with a torch in an outstretched hand, from the audience waiting. While he went downstairs, the official part was already coming to an end. He only managed to hear the prophetic words of President Cleveland: "We will never forget that Freedom chose a house for itself here, or that its chosen altar will never be abandoned."

The weather that day was cloudy and rainy. Fireworks decided to transfer to the first of November. But numerous guests and delegations enthusiastically took the festive salute from the 21 th volley. So more than 130 years ago celebrated the construction of this 46-meter Statue of Liberty. As Bartholdi dreamed, she exceeded the height of the legendary Colossus of Rhodes by 10 meters, and at that historical stage became the highest monument in the world. So it began ...

The continuation of the legend

Bartholdi realized his dream. He created an excellent symbolic figure, installed at the entrance to the port, facing the visitors, all with their kind instilling in them the hope that they are waiting here and are welcome to them. And for ships, it was supposed to serve as a navigation reference point and a lighthouse. But the overall difficulties and cares for installing the monument were so great that it was not up to the technical tasks involved in maintaining the fire in the lighthouse. During 16 for three years, three rangers tried to solve these problems, but with mixed success. In 1901, the lighthouse service transferred the service of the statue to the military department. By that time, the copper plating of the statue from exposure to humid air began to gradually oxidize, and the monument began to acquire a greenish color, so familiar to us nowadays. However, military experts proved that this emerging layer - patina, is a kind of protection of the metal from aggressive effects. And therefore the statue should not be painted in a different color, as numerous advisers have already begun to demand.

A little later, on July 30, 1916, German agents organized a sabotage on the Black Toma Peninsula, where a large ammunition depot was located. On the night of the terrorist attack, a total of about one kiloton of ammunition was stored here, many of which were allegedly being prepared to be sent to countries fighting against Germany on the fronts of the First World War. The power of the explosion was rated from 5,0 to 5,5 on the Richter scale. Its fragments also hit the Statue of Liberty, slightly damaging some of its parts and the torch. Simultaneously with its reconstruction, an underwater power cable was laid on the island from the mainland, and powerful lamps were installed around the sculpture. And December 2 of the same year, US President Woodrow Wilson for the first time turned on the full figure illumination. Now she herself, shining against the background of the starry sky, showed the way to the ships better than any lighthouses in the night.

Фото: Depositphotos

Naturally, during the World War II, the statue was not illuminated for blackout. After the war, attempts were made to sabotage the tower itself, or to gather all sorts of meetings of protests on its territory. And in 1971, members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization organized a so-called protest action, generally barricading themselves inside the Statue, demanding an end to the Vietnam War. All this testified to the special role that this building began to play in the life of the city, country and world.

In 1924, on the initiative of President Calvin Coolidge, The Statue of Liberty was declared a national monument, and already in 1933, its service was transferred to the service of national parks. Since 1937, the concept of a national monument has already been extended to the whole territory of the island, which was renamed Liberty Island in 1956. It is curious that this idea was once voiced by Bartholdi himself.

In 1976, a more advanced and powerful lighting system was installed in the area of ​​the monument. And at the beginning of 80-x, as part of a program to prepare for the celebration of the 100 anniversary of the monument, a group of American and French experts discovered many constructive problems accumulated during this time, and therefore it was recommended to carry out restoration work. They began in the 1984 year, the same year that the Statue of Liberty was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Restoration required a lot of work on corrosion protection near 1800 metal plates of the statue, the replacement of the torch, structural changes in the stability of the arm and shoulder. A glass two-story elevator, new stairs, heating and air conditioning system were installed. It was then possible, having overcome the 192 steps, to freely climb to the top of the pedestal. And those who wanted to get to the crown itself had to master 164 more steps. A total of 356. However, the renovation was completed on time, and on July 5, 1986, President Reagan and French President François Mitterrand (now without a 10-year delay) inaugurated the statue to new generations of visitors.

However, due to the danger of terrorist threats after the events of 2001, and the aftermath of Hurricane Sendi in 2012, the normal operation of the Statue of Liberty was temporarily suspended, and it continued only from 2013.

By this time, she was already so famous, recognizable and popular that she began to copy all over the world. The number of these copies in the world already totals several hundred. In the period between 1949-1952, the organization of American Scouts, during the celebration of its fortieth anniversary, donated about two hundred copies of stamped copper, 2,5 m high (2.5 m height), to various US states and municipalities. About half of them survived to our time.

And the most popular of its copies in the United States are the sculptures that were installed near the New York casino building in Las Vegas and at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

But the most prestigious of all copies are Parisian ones. In 1889, the Americans gave the French a 4 times smaller copy of the statue (its height is 11,5 m), which was installed in Paris on the Swan Island - a narrow artificial dam on the Seine, not far from the Eiffel Tower. Initially, it was turned towards the tower itself, i.e. to the site of the famous Paris World Exhibition, and only in 1937 it was deployed to the west. Now she is looking directly at her "big sister" in New York.

View of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, visible also the Statue of Liberty in Paris. Фото: Depositphotos

Another two-meter copy, made by Bartholdi himself, found its place in the Luxembourg Garden, but was damaged by the barbarians and was replaced by a copy. And the restored original now adorns the entrance to the Orsay Museum. But in the Museum of Arts and Crafts you can see in detail the very final model of the sculpture that was used by Bartholdi to create the American Statue of Liberty.

In 1987, the Americans made a new gift to Paris - the “Flame of Freedom”, a gilded full-sized copy of this element of the sculpture of the American “Statue”.

Flame of Liberty in Paris. Фото: Depositphotos

It was installed on the Alma Bridge. And ten years later, the Welsh Princess Diana died just below him. And her numerous admirers, identifying this fire with the memory of the princess, bring now to the base of the monument a bunch of fresh flowers. By the way, in the 2004 year, on the centenary of the death of Frederick Bartholdi, a small copy of the Statue of Liberty (height 12 m) was installed on his home - in Colmar.

The charactersThe comic image of the Statue and its parts can be seen on many commemorative coins, banknotes, stamps and postcards, emblems of sports associations and the Libertarian Party of the United States, license plates of New York (1986 - 2000), advertising brochures of many companies, and .d etc.

It is also easy to find numerous references to it in fiction, paintings and musical works all over the world.

It is rare to see any film about New York without an image of the Statue of Liberty. But there are many movies in which she plays a "star" role. Already in “The Flood” of 1933, one of the first disaster films, an earthquake was shown that turned Manhattan into ruins, after which a tsunami washes away the Statue of Liberty. The famous Hitchcock in his “Diversant” (1941) depicts the confrontation of his heroes at the top of the “Statue”. In Steven Spielberg’s “Artificial Intelligence” (2001), the Statue of Liberty is also completely under water due to global warming. And in the film “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), it also freezes as a result of the onset of the Arctic cold. AT "Planet of the monkeys”(1968), the protagonist, having only discovered the Statue of Liberty, half overwhelmed by the Ocean, with despair, realizes that he is on planet Earth. And in the movie "Iron Sky»(2012) the Nazis, arriving in New York, destroy it. But "Ghostbusters 2”(1989) revive the Statue of Liberty and use it in the fight against Evil. And so in different variations in many films. And even Soviet cinema - in the film by Leonid Gaidai "Good weather on Deribasovskaya, or it rains again on Brighton Beach”(1992 of the year) makes the Statue of Liberty be surprised to turn its head in the direction of the hero Dmitry Haratyan flying on a bed over New York.

However, various amazing stories and curiosities associated with the "Statue" occurred not only in the cinema, but also in real life. For example, in 1918, on the parade ground of the military camp Camp dodge (Iowa) 18 of thousands of US Army soldiers formed the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty. They were dressed in a special form of different colors and shades in order to create maximum realism of the composition. The photograph of this structure, taken from above, was to be used in advertising the sales of military bonds during the First World War, but, unfortunately, it was never involved.

But after 60 years, during the presidential and vice-president elections of the University of Wisconsin Students Union, a promise was made to the next election program to move the Statue of Liberty from New York to Wisconsin. Pretenders for this post Jim Mallon and Leon Varjan ordered model of the sculpture, consisting only of the head and hands with a torch, which were dropped by jokers on the frozen Lake Mendota. At the same time, it seemed as if the rest of the statue was covered by water.

However, the most memorable attraction associated with the “Statue” was not only performed by renowned illusionist David Copperfield in the 1983 year, but also included in the Guinness Book of Records. In front of a huge audience, he performed a brilliant stunt, forcing the Statue to disappear, using two towers, a turning stage, an arch and a curtain that hid the sculpture from view. Of course, at the end of the focus, he “returned” the Statue of Liberty to its place, with the full delight of numerous viewers.

About the place where this famous sculpture was installed, legends have been preserved associated with the name of Captain William Kidd, a pirate hunter who himself was a fairly wealthy man. Allegedly, in ancient times, he hid all his treasures on Liberty Island, which then bore the name Bedlow. Since then, many people have tried to find this treasure, but to no avail. But in our time, it makes no sense to bother yourself with this search. It is not because everything has been dug over here for a long time, but because the Statue of Liberty erected here is in itself one of the most significant and unique treasures or treasures of the world.

Perhaps that is why, moving on ferry to Staten Island, you can not resist and do not go to the board of the ship, watching how slowly he approaches the island, with the Statue of Liberty located on it. And an amazing feeling of inner excitement and belonging with this city, this country and its main symbol comes involuntarily. For some time the statue will be visible to you, and then the image of this world-famous woman, meaning so much to the world, will gradually dissolve away. But never leave you. Forever remaining the legendary Statue of Liberty - one of the most important symbol of the country.

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