Lady Liberty turns 125!

125 people take the Oath of Allegiance at Statue of Liberty's 125th anniversary

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Anatoliy Gryshchenko takes the Oath of Allegiance as one of 125 people participating in a naturalization ceremony during the Statue of Liberty's 125th anniversary celebration Oct. 28, 2011, on Liberty Island in New York City. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta H. Disco.

Today, Lady Liberty turned 125 and one Coast Guardsman had a special invitation to the historic celebration on Liberty Island. Petty Officer 3rd Class Anatoliy Gryshchenko was one of 125 naturalization candidates from 40 countries who took the Oath of Allegiance in front of the universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

Coast Guardsman Anatoliy Gryshchenko stands in front of the Statue of Liberty

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Anatoliy Gryshchenko stands in front of the Statue of Liberty following a naturalization ceremony Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, at Liberty Island in New York City. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta H. Disco.

“I came to this country in 2005, back then I knew that my life would change,” said Gryshchenko, a Ukrainian born in Karlolipnektovsk, USSR. “Growing up I remember looking at a magazine and seeing the Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate Bridge, saying to myself that one day, not knowing how, I would see them up close.”

Little did he know that he would not only see Lady Liberty in person but also become a U.S. citizen during a ceremony honoring the statue’s 125th anniversary.

“I served for two years as a Coast Guard Honor Guardsman. Big ceremonies were our specialty, but I could never guess that someday I would get to attend one as a guest,” said Gryshchenko who joined the Coast Guard in 2008 and is now a health services technician at Training Center Cape May, N.J.

The National Park Service will also share another acclaimed feature of Liberty Island with the public in honor of the anniversary - the panoramic aerial view from the statue’s torch that has been off-limits to visitors since 1916. Starting today, you can take in the scenary from the statue’s extended arm as the torch webcam begins to live stream to anyone, anywhere in the world.

For more information, head over to the National Park Service’s website or the Statue of Liberty’s Facebook page.

You can also wish Lady Liberty a happy birthday yourself on Twitter @HappyStatue125!

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  • Donna J.Marn

    Happy Birthday..Lady Liberty

  • MKC ret. Waterfield

    Way to go shipmate! and Congratulations on attaining your goals!

  • Ken Warner

    Good job Gryshchenko! I couldn’t be happeir for you. I remember you studying your tail off at the barracks at TISCOM. Way to go. Hope all is well on the east coast!

  • Anatoliy Gryshchenko

    Thank you everybody, this really means a lot!

  • McCoy

    Congrads!!! G-Shank!!! proud for you homie!! keep taking part and making special days for yourself

  • Christina Johnson

    Congratulations Shank. we still need to find that video of you on CNN though :)

  • Johnson, MK

    Congratulations Gryshchenko!! I wish I could have been there on Liberty Island to see you get your citizenship and witness first hand Lady Liberty’s 125 birthday. Way to go Shipmate and friend.

  • Cdr sergio villaverde

    Congrats. We are stronger for your contribution. Being at lady liberty reminds us we are all children of immigrants and our diversity makes us stronger.