Service of Tourist Symbols: Eiffel Tower, Tower of London, Lincoln Memorial, Grand Canyon & Statue of Liberty

October 15th, 2013

Categories: Government, Symbols, Tourism, Travel

 Statue of Liberty

You know you’re in Paris, London, Washington DC, Colorado or New York when you see the Eiffel Tower, Tower of London, Lincoln Memorial, Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty.

“I’m really here!” I say to myself or to anyone who’ll listen and feel a thrill as I approach such sights. But many landmarks and parks haven’t been open to tourists here. Imagine traveling from 50 to thousands of miles only to learn that you can’t get in.

Grand Canyon National ParkAs of Sunday, the Governors of NY, Colorado and other states have opened their landmarks as much for financial as symbolic reasons. Businesses around the sights are suffering losses. [I heard one newscaster say that the Feds will reimburse the states for costs involved when the Federal purse reopens, but haven’t heard this repeated.] Cost to New York to open the Statue of Liberty: $61,000+ a day.

Visitors to the Washington memorials still aren’t able to visit. The West Point band didn’t play in the Columbus Day Parade this year. Note: The debt crisis didn’t affect the Congressional health club which remains open.

Are our symbols as essential as some of the services we’re missing because elected officials  on both side of the aisle have lost sight of their missions? Clearly not.

Yet I am appalled that so many of our proud symbols have been dismissed, disrespected and ill-treated by our leaders, men and women who seemingly won’t budge from their fierce positions for fear of diluting their own political images.

What do these closures say about this country to foreigners? The outcome of political inaction/gridlock is more than embarrassing and discouraging and symbolic of a system that’s gone off track. Is the damage repairable?

Closed door

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8 Responses to “Service of Tourist Symbols: Eiffel Tower, Tower of London, Lincoln Memorial, Grand Canyon & Statue of Liberty”

  1. ASK Said:

    I think it depends on what side of the political spectrum foreigners are on…Also, I think the average “foreigner on the street” thinks most Americans are off the wall anyway.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If a family has saved and planned for a trip to see national parks, museums in Washington DC, FDR’s home or other historic sights only to find them closed for the reasons that they are, I can’t help but think that they’d be shocked.

    I had a game that in English was called “Rich Uncle” and in French, “L’Oncle D’Amerique.” That poor uncle, were he still alive, would be, well….poor.

    Superficial on my part, but I wish it weren’t so. In some ways the handling of the debt crisis reminds me of a couple of average means squabbling over money. She is frugal, saves and scrimps, buys at sales only when necessary while he buys sports cars, fine wine, gambles, has a cashmere wardrobe equal to Ralph Lauren’s [I would imagine] and neither can hear the other. There’s a solution for them–but our Congress can’t get a divorce.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    It is hard to know where to begin any discussion about the ongoing and unnecessary damage being wreaked on our country and actually globally by the absurdly retrograde, infantile and antediluvian behavior of the politicians who simply will not permit our elected President to govern in an appropriate fashion.

    Having an extremely marginalized and ignorant group of individuals throw daily tantrums railing against the rule of government like spoiled children deprived of their whims simply causes ever multiplying damage in all layers of society everywhere. The U.S. is suffering the most immediate damage and is now the object of ridicule, anger, fear, disbelief and perhaps even pity. It seems a terrible waste of time to be drowned in coverage of unbalanced behavior by barely literate nonentities. Many must wonder what our educational system has produced with the displays that are being foisted on us, in fact, what is the “American way of life”..

    The obstructionist activity seems like a kind of delusional, infantile pirate game. However, even today’s news recounts the downfall of 2 famous pirates, deluded by self-importance who fell prey to a Belgian government sting.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    As articulate as he is, I don’t feel that the President has made clear a whole bunch of misunderstandings about Obama Care and he’s allowed so many rumors and misunderstandings to flourish I feel as though I’ve been spun around with a scarf over my eyes after a rigorous game of pin the tail on the donkey.

    Further, he hasn’t lined up and convinced Senators and Congressmen and women to back his point of view and make clear his priorities to them other than he won’t compromise. About negotiation, my husband always says that each party must go away with something or the outcome won’t work. So much for no compromise.

    Last, he has a vice president who might be of help and I haven’t seen him anywhere. Let’s hope he’s working behind the scenes.

    I wonder if most in Congress feel that this has gotten out of hand. I would bet that a few are having a great time.

    Back to my divorce analogy in my response to ASK: The public is equivalent to the children in a bad marriage. The kids get battered when the parents figuratively or literally strike out at each other. In this case, however, the kids can vote for different parents. The question is whether those up for election next month are any different than the current guardians.

  5. Martha Takayama Said:

    In my mind the most important and simple matter to be resolved is the acceptance of universal health care as a responsibility of government.

    Most countries, including many we consider “underdeveloped” or “developing” offer such care. The level or quality of the care may be subject to dispute, but the concept of furnishing it prevails. As for further proselytizing, I think what we have here is a small bunch of bullies who consider the President and the concept of universal health care as anathema, and that therefore they do not merit being coddled or coaxed. We seem to be concerned nowadays with combating bullying in the school yard. Why should it be tolerated in adults?

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    There’s no doubt that children mimic their elders…perhaps if public figures, out of control sports parents, angry drivers, big bankers and others stopped bullying, there would be less of it in the school yard. For now, it seems to be the best way to win.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    The tail appears to be wagging the dog in Washington and bringing untold misery to thousands, if not millions. Oddly enough, it’s those who call themselves “patriots” who seem hell bent on bringing the country down. The black eye to tourism is only one of many ugly and at times tragic situations this so called shut down is bringing about.

    While closure of parks and monuments may bring about disappointment, main concern should be focused on those now unable to eat and/or feed their families and keep their homes through loss of jobs, or hold up in pay.

    May the electorate remember the congressmen who are at the bottom of this disgrace and act accordingly next year.

  8. Pistol Pete Said:

    Obama is practicing politics “Chicago Style” big time! He could have cancelled a few welfare handouts instead, but the recipients are his clients. He chose the parks so that bleeding heart liberals could self-righteously blame the Republicans and feel good doing so.

    Incidentally, did you notice that Cuomo decided that the Statue of Liberty was such a money maker that New York State would pay for it? Never having seen it, as far I am concerned, New York should go right on paying. It gets the benefit, not taxpayers like me.

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