Throughout history, the art of gift-giving was practiced between nations to commemorate the alliance they share, strengthening international friendships, and deepening relations. Some of the greatest gifts America received as symbols of peace and respect can still be witnessed across its states today, eternally bonding these countries to America.
To The Struggle Against World Terrorism
Officially titled, To The Struggle Against World Terrorism, this 175-ton steel monument coated in bronze stands 100 feet tall in the unlikely locale of Harbor View Park, on the tip of Bayonne Peninsula in New Jersey. A tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the September 11th attacks, this monument was gifted by Russia to America in 2006, on the fifth anniversary of the devastating tragedy. The 40-foot stainless steel teardrop that hangs from the monument gave it the original name, Tear of Grief, and signifies the tears spilled over lost lives.
Conceptualized and designed by Moscow artist Zurab Tsereteli, To The Struggle Against World Terrorism is deeply symbolic - the nine footpaths that lead to the structure, and the 11-sided, granite-panelled base etched with the victims’ names of the attack surrounding the monument represent the historic date of 9/11. Placed in a seemingly unassuming setting, the monument boasts a clear view of the Statue of Liberty and stands in line with the former site of downtown Manhattan’s Twin Towers.
Washington, D.C.’s Japanese Cherry Blossoms
Tokyo’s Mayor Yukio Ozaki gifted Washington, D.C., with 3,020 Japanese cherry blossoms in 1912 as symbols of the vibrant friendship these two nations share. On March 27, along the banks of the Potomac River at West Potomac Park, then-First Lady Helen Taft held the honors of planting the first cherry blossom tree on American soil, joined by the Japanese ambassador’s wife for the second tree planting. The annual blooming of the delicate white and soft pink blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin draw 1.5 million visitors to America’s capital each year, commemorating Japan’s symbol of peace and celebrating international friendship at what has evolved into the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Statue of Liberty
Commemorating the international friendship established between two nations during the American Revolution, New York City's famous Statue of Liberty was generously gifted by the people of France. Officially named Liberty Enlightening the World, the 151-foot-tall symbol of freedom and independence is the result of the combined ingenuity of Eiffel Tower engineer Gustave Eiffel and sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. While Eiffel was responsible for constructing the internal structure of Lady Liberty, Bartholdi devoted over 10 years to designing the copper monument, unveiling the American icon on Liberty Island to the public in October 1886. Impressive for its sheer size, Lady Liberty was dismantled into 350 individual pieces and packed into 214 wooden crates before it was shipped across the Atlantic to New York City. Though access to Lady Liberty’s torch has been closed since 1916, visitors can still climb the 146 rigorous steps to her crown for excellent harbor views and cityscapes.