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Happy 4th of July! Brief Reflection on The Four Freedoms

Happy 4th of July to the GovLoop Community!

Last night I was reading a little bit about Norman Rockwell, I was feeling patriotic due to the holiday and decide to read a bit about some of his work. Just doing some Googling on Mr. Rockwell I was reminded of his series of paintings, The Four Freedoms. This was a series of paintings influenced by one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speeches. The illustrations and the speech by President Roosevelt are great starting points to reflect upon as we celebrate our nation.

The history behind the Four Freedoms is also fascinating. As previously mentioned, the inspiration for Norman Rockwell’s paintings came from a speech by President Roosevelt in January of 1941, working to build support for the War, and reminding Americans why the cause was just. President Roosevelt stated:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.

Rockwell’s illustrations were eventually used by the government as part of the effort to have people buy war bonds, as depicted by the photos in this post. Although the world as we know it today is much different than the day President Roosevelt gave his historic speech, the freedoms and beliefs that he outlined and Rockwell illustrated still hold a deep meaning to all of us, and cut to the core of what it means to be an American. So, as you all celebrate the 4th this year, be sure to take some time to reflect on the Four Freedoms, and how lucky we all are to be part of America.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Great post, Pat! I am sure you have, but it’s worth repeated visits – check out the FDR Memorial in DC. Overall, this particular memorial is my favorite…and the Four Freedoms chamber is one of the most inspiring parts of it: