NEW YORK — Merci beaucoup, Frederic.
The Statue of Liberty hosted a party Sunday honoring its creator, sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, on the 100th anniversary of his death.
The ceremony commemorating France's most famous gift to the United States also was a celebration of Franco-American friendship, which degenerated into name-calling and "freedom fries" after France declined to support the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Richard Riehm, the deputy mayor of Colmar, the city in France's Alsace region where Bartholdi was born, said the Statue of Liberty reminds people of the United States' contribution to liberty worldwide.
The ceremony took place on Liberty Island, where the statue was reopened to visitors two months ago after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks forced it to close.
Bartholdi was born on April 2, 1834, and died of tuberculosis in Paris on Oct. 4, 1904. Other Bartholdi works erected in the United States include the Bartholdi Fountain in Washington, D.C., the angelic trumpeters on the corners of the tower of the First Baptist Church in Boston and the Lafayette Statue and the Lafayette and Washington Monument in New York.