My first bout of claustropbia came in my favorite city in the world. Many moons ago, before that part of the Statue of Liberty closed to tourists, and crowd safety issues were a thing.

My freshman year of high school, my mom allowed me to go on the high school trip to New York City. No doubt my mother expect my older sister to watch out for me. I don’t have a lot of memories of the trip, but Lady Liberty is one I’ll never forget.

My father recalls a time when visitors could go in the arm of the statue and out onto the torch platform. By our trip in the 1990s, structural reasons closed that portion. Tourists still lined up to walk up the stairs and look through her crown.

I got nearly to the top before I truly began to consider the people surrounding me. A line in front climbed the stair case slowly, one stair at a time. I’m not sure when I realized the line behind me spanned just as long.

Then the moment of terror – in case of emergency, how would I get out? Smack dab in the middle of the crowd I realized I was stuck. When panic set in, I had no escape. When I got to the top of the stairs, I barely stopped to look out of the crown of the statue.

As soon as I saw a path, I ran down the stairs and out of the statue.

Each Friday (or Saturday, or Monday) I join the Five Minute Friday crew to share my perspective on a single word. This week’s prompt is CROWD. I’m not sure exactly how long our host leaves the link open, but I encourage you to write for 5 minutes about the word. Even if you don’t have an official place on the internet to hold your writing, a piece of paper and a pen would do fine. Won’t you join us?

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