Liberty Island, NY – Ten veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project® joined rangers from the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island for a photography workshop on Liberty Island on the first day of Fleet Week in New York City. “It was a natural way for us to team up with the Wounded Warriors and it was great to see that they were so interested in the history and significance of the statue," said Michael Amato, Chief of Interpretation, Education and Visitor Services. "It was a privilege to provide the opportunity for them to connect with the monument in such a meaningful and memorable way."
You could sense the anticipation build as the ferry drew closer to the island. With lens barrels raised towards her, the statue slowly came into focus with Liberty's beguiling green glowing in the morning sun. You could hear the sound of their shutters clicking in bursts as interesting details of the statue were revealed as the ferry rounded the island and neared the dock. The group of veterans was guided by Ranger Reneel Langdon, a veteran with a shared interest in photography. "It was amazing to be able to share with fellow veterans my passion for telling the story of this place coupled with my passion for photography," said Langdon. "And to be able kick-off Fleet Week in the company of these remarkable veterans was energizing for me."
“We think there was no better way to launch Fleet Week than to work with the Wounded Warriors to provide veterans a way to experience the Statue of Liberty through their own lens,” said Superintendent John Piltzecker. “It was a nice touch to be able to assign one of our rangers to give the group a special tour who is a Coast Guard veteran and accomplished photographer himself.”
“It was a powerful experience for our warriors to have the opportunity to interact with such an iconic symbol that represents the American ideals of freedom and democracy,” said Nancy Beetstra of the Wounded Warrior Project®. “It was those very ideals that they elected to serve and were ultimately wounded defending. We hope to work with the National Park Service in the future to provide more of these experiences for our Wounded Warriors.”