As western Iowans battle the flooding Missouri River, eastern Iowans are celebrating the return of a statue that was severely damaged in the flooding which struck Cedar Rapids in 2008.
Andrew Goodrich is one of the four retired sheet metal workers who repaired the small replica of the Statue of Liberty.
“She was bent over backwards, pretty much; ripped in four pieces; totally tore up,” he says. “Her copper was all scarred from things going down the river hitting her. The thing was running 70 miles per hour, I think the river was. Her foot went downstream and somebody found it and brought it back.”
Boy Scouts in Cedar Rapids dedicated the statue to the city of Cedar Rapids in 1950. Eleven-year-old Daniel Arnold is a Scout with a connection to that moment 61 years ago.
“My grandfather’s troop was the one that actually paid for the pedestal and for ‘Lady Liberty’ to be delivered from Chicago,” Arnold says.
Arnold was on hand for today’s ceremony on the First Avenue Bridge in Cedar Rapids.
“I feel that we’ve pretty much (given) Cedar Rapids the freedom again to see Lady Liberty without having to go, like, halfway across the country,” Arnold says.
Today’s re-dedication ceremony took place on the third anniversary of the day the Cedar River hit its crest in Cedar Rapids. Woodrich, the retired metalworker, says his work on “Lady Liberty” was just something he could do to help the city. “And like the people of Cedar Rapids, she suffered,” Goodrich says. “She went through it just like the rest of us did.”
The eight-and-a-half foot statue was given to the City of Cedar Rapids in 1950 by the Boy Scouts of America as part of a two-year crusade to “strengthen the arm of liberty.” The Scouts gave similar replicas to 101 other cities in the U.S. in 1949 and 1950.