I want to tell you why I did this. My mother was the first one to tell me about the Statue of Liberty. She saw at first from the deck of the ship that brought her to America: she was an immigrant. She impressed upon me how precious our liberty is and how easily it can be lost. And then one day it occurred to me that I could show with magic how we take our freedom for granted. Sometimes we don't realize how important something is until it's gone. So I asked our government for permission to let me make the Statue of Liberty disappear... just for a few minutes. I thought that if we faced emptiness where, for as long as we can remember, that great lady is, lifted up our land, why then... we might imagine what the world would be like without liberty and we realize how precious our freedom really is. And then I will make the Statue of Liberty reappear, by remembering the world that made it appear in the first place. The world is freedom. Freedom is the true magic. It's beyond the power of any magician. But wherever one human being guarantees another the same rights he or she enjoys, we find freedom. [The curtain between the live audience and the Statue of Liberty used to hide the secret of its disappearance is raised] How long can we stay free? But just as long as we keep thinking, and speaking, and acting as free human beings. Our ancestors just couldn’t. We can. And I will show you the way. Nooooow! [The curtain is lowered and the Statue of Liberty reappears]
From "The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears" (April 8th, 1983)
We’re taught in the Jewish tradition the same story over and over, whether it’s the Holocaust or the Maccabees, we have to rise above persecution and do our best, just as the magic is about making people dream, we learned to take things that aren’t supposed to be and turn them into something beautiful.