NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS) The Statue of Liberty reopened this Fourth of July. The national landmark had been closed since Superstorm Sandy damaged the island eight months ago.
"It's much more majestic and beautiful than in pictures," said Abigail Lassiter of Oxford, Ga.
Federal, state and local officials marked the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The statue was spared when sandy came ashore eight months ago, but most of Liberty Island was underwater. Storm surge destroyed docks, railings and pathways.
"It was no small feat to restore this on this day the day we celebrate the birth of this nation," said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service.
Just one day before Sandy struck, the statue celebrated another reopening following a year of renovations.
"I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little sick and tired of opening and closing the Statue of Liberty so i think this time we'll just leave it open," said David Luchsinger, superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
Nearly four-million people visit the Statue of Liberty each year. Visitors can walk all the way up to the crown, but it is a three month wait for those tickets.
"We couldn't get reserved for the crown, but we tried but we did go all the way up to the monument. It was very interesting," said Ozzie Salazar of Miami, Fla.
Salazar and his wife Tina came to the U.S. from Cuba and wanted to see the statue.
"It symbolizes a new life a new beginning a new opportunity," said Salazar.
Visitors to the Statue of Liberty have to go through security checkpoints on lower Manhattan before boarding ferries to the island. Nearby Ellis Island, which endured much more damage than Liberty Island remains closed to the public.