POSTED: Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 10:10am
UPDATED: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 6:42am
Lady Liberty is once again ready to face the masses yearning for a closer look at one of America's most iconic figures.
"It's a big thing to see in New York. It's probably one of the things we were most looking forward to seeing It lit the way for us to have a better life and it's important my children be able to see, experience and understand that."
Hurricane Sandy forced Lady Liberty's closing, just a day after her 126th anniversary. While the statue itself emerged unscathed, storm surge socked almost three quarters of Liberty Island leaving bricks ripped up, docks destroyed and debris everywhere.
Addin insult to injury, the statue had just reopened the day before the storm after a year of renovations.
CNN got rare access inside for the reopening, all the way to her crown the trek up a steep 377 step narrow spiral staircase leads to spectacular views high above New York's Harbor.
The 305 foot tall statue was a gift from France symbolizing the friendship between the two countries and their shared love of liberty.
Dedicated in 1886 after 10 years of construction, more than 3.5 million people worldwide flock here every year.
Parks officials worked around the clock to make sure the island reopened just in time for this Independence Day.
"Coming here and seeing visitors from all over the world standing out in front with tears in their eyes with excitement. She's not only our statue she's the world's statue."