Utahns lead efforts to build West Coast companion to Statue of Liberty

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 15 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

Daniel Bolz, president and CEO of the Statue of Responsibility Foundation, speaks during a press conference launching phase two of the Statue of Responsibility project, a proposed 300-foot statue to be built on the West Coast as a companion to the Statue of Liberty, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Dreams of a companion to the Statue of Liberty took another step forward Wednesday after a Utah sculptor and community leaders helped launch new efforts to build a "bookend" statue on the West Coast.

The Statue of Responsibility movement can trace its roots back to Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl, whose 1959 book, "Man's Search For Meaning," suggested that true freedom is the sum of liberty plus responsibility.

"Freedom threatens to degenerate into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness," Frankl said in 1971. "That is why for 10 years I've been teaching my American audiences they should see to it that the Statue of Liberty on the Atlantic Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the Pacific Coast."

"Only by balancing liberty and responsibility can freedom be sustained," the project website says.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff joined the president and CEO of the Statue of Responsibility Foundation and others Wednesday in launching phase two of the foundation's efforts Wednesday.

In 2010, the Utah House passed a resolution expressing support for the monument and acknowledging Utah's role in its creation as that of "Utah — Birth Place of the Statue of Responsibility." The resolution also encourages Utahns to assist in the project.

"Utah will forever be the birthplace of the Statue of Responsibility, which is a cool moniker for us to have here," Rep. Mike Morely, R-Spanish Fork, said in 2010.

In 1997, Utah artist Gary Lee Price was commissioned to design the monument, and chose two hands gripping the forearm of the other as the symbol of responsibility.

"My goals was to create a piece that was a simple shape yet powerful in meaning," Price said in a letter. "The two gripping hands symbolize our responsibility that comes with our liberty and our freedom. The power is in its simplicity."

"I love the design. It communicates almost instantly its message: a brotherhood, a sisterhood, a human family, a togetherness, an awareness we're in the same boat," Dr. Stephen R. Covey said in a 2008 interview. "The more responsible you become, the greater your freedom and your influence becomes, and then you will become a catalyst for good in everything you do in your life."

Price has posted photos on a Facebook page, and said a webcam feature is in the works that would allow viewers to watch him work on a smaller version of the statue at Utah Valley University.

Many others involved with the project have Utah ties as well, including President and CEO Daniel L. Bolz.

"This project speaks to the core issue of our country — that of preserving freedom," Bolz told The Washington Post.

A home for the statue has yet to be confirmed, but once it is chosen, a national PR campaign is expected to begin. According to its website, the four cities reviewed as possible locations for the monument include San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Construction will take approximately two years once the necessary $300 million in funding has been raised.

The statue would be 300 feet tall and include an open observation deck, an inside observation deck, two restaurants and a gift shop.

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