Song Story: The Statue of Liberty
Growing up Daddy and I often performed the song Statue of Liberty for patriotic services. Recently I sung this song again and wondered about the origin of this beautiful song which combines both our patriotic and religious freedom with one another.
The Statue of Liberty was written by Neil Enloe around 1974. He was a 36-year-old singer-songwriter at the time.
Marvin Neil Enloe was born in 1938 in Woodriver, Illinois and became a Christian at the age of fifteen.
He sang lead for the Couriers from 1957-1980 and again from 1984-2000. He also played piano for the group. He owns his own publishing company.
He said of the writing of the song:
“I was a member of a singing group called The Couriers. We were based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. During the early 1970s we were scheduled to sing for a cruise sponsored by a large group of Christian young people from New York and New Jersey. They had rented a cruise ship for the evening and we were to be the musical guests.”
“There were 2,400 people on the ship. It had an auditorium that seated about 400 people. In order for all of them to hear our concert we had to sing six concerts, with only five-minute breaks between them.”
“During one of the breaks, a member of the group and I went out on the deck to see the sights along the shore. It was getting dark. As I leaned on the ship’s railing, with my back to the shore, the kids began to look at something which caused them to have a measure of excitement in their eyes. So, I turned and suddenly saw the Statue of Liberty in all of her glory.”
“Because I was raised in the Midwest, suddenly everything patriotic in me rose to the surface. I had never seen the Statue of Liberty so closely. It was so very, very close. In my own mind and heart I realized, anew and afresh, the liberty I have as an American citizen.”
“I turned to the gentleman with me and said, ‘There must be a counterpart to my American freedom. It is liberty in Christ. There is surely a monument to this freedom! There is no greater symbol to Christian liberty than the CROSS!’ I also said, ‘There should be a song somewhere in this.’”
He wrote and rewrote the song for three months before publishing it.
He won the 1974 Dove award for The Statue of Liberty.
Other songs written by Neil Enloe include Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Lord, Fill My Cup to Overflowing; I will Live for Jesus; Flow through Me; I’d Rather Be an Old Time Christian; Give Me Jesus; Lift Up the Name of Jesus; There Go I and Who Can We Turn To.
In 2009, he was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Fall of Fame. Their website states “Enloe’s contribution to Southern Gospel can also be measured in terms of his songwriting ability.”
Ivan Parker has a popular version of the song.