Our Senior writer Dan Weaver shared this on our Facebook page and we thought you all might enjoy it as well!!
The Four Freedoms: The Bountiful Blessings of Thanksgiving
By Dan Weaver
As Thanksgiving Day draws near, we all find ourselves busily preparing for one of the biggest meals of the year. We are making sure that the table is perfectly set, that the food is perfectly prepared, and that the house is perfectly decorated. Despite the work that Thanksgiving brings, we find ourselves looking forward to spending the day with family and friends. With all the hustle and bustle of the day, we may find ourselves neglecting the true reason we celebrate this wonderful day. We all know the story of the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock. We all know that the Indians helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them to grow and harvest crops. Unfortunately, over the years, many of us may have forgotten that there have been times during our country’s long history when Thanksgiving Day was not easily celebrated. These brave generations of the past were able to celebrate Thanksgiving during times of war, poverty, and great loss. We could learn a lot from these past generations and the stories they could tell us. These people fought and often died to ensure that the freedoms they were fighting for would be possible for the generations of people who would come after them.
When I think about freedom, I often recall a very famous artist named Norman Rockwell. Norman Rockwell is known for depicting life through his art. His art reminds us of a simpler time, while reminding us of the important things in life. Norman Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms in 1943. These were four separate oil paintings that were reproduced and were featured on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post during four consecutive weeks in 1943. Rockwell derived his paintings from the January 6, 1941 State of the Union Address given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. These four freedoms are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Freedom of Speech: Many of us take this freedom for granted. We forget that in a lot of nations, people do not have the right to speak their minds. Many times if these people do speak out they can be imprisoned or worse. If we disagree with the leaders of our nation, we can express our disagreement openly without fear of retaliation. Without freedom of speech our country would not be what it is today. We would be stifled and not be able to express ourselves and lead the lives we choose to live.
Freedom of Worship: This is one of the reasons why the Pilgrims left England. They were being forced to practice a religion they found objectionable. They could not worship openly according to their own beliefs. Now, we can all enjoy this freedom no matter what our particular religious beliefs are. We can find a church that believes the way we do and enjoy the fellowship of others who share our beliefs without fear of persecution.
Freedom from Want: We all know people who go without. We all know people who struggle to make it from day to day. Most of us are blessed enough to be able to make a living and provide for our families and still get to indulge ourselves with a passion for decorating and collecting. Even though there are many people in this country who are living a meager existence, there are programs developed by our country to help them work out of the poverty that they are currently living in. In most countries, these people would have no hope and would live in poverty for generations. In our country we can pull ourselves out of the desperate living conditions we may find ourselves in through the assistance of government programs, our communities and our families.
Freedom from Fear: Even though we have experienced outside threats to our safety over the years, we still can go to sleep at night and rest easily. Our children can go to school without the daily threat of bombs going off and gun fire. In many countries, worrying about an attack of some kind or the safety of family members is a daily fear. In our country we can live our lives in peace and look forward to a brighter tomorrow.
So, as you gather around your Thanksgiving table this year and look into the loving faces of your family and friends, take a moment to remember all of the freedoms that we have in this great nation. Remember the people who have gone before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Remember to thank God for allowing you to be born in a nation where freedoms are bountiful. Remember to count your blessings and to focus on the positive. If we all do this, everyday can be like Thanksgiving. If we all strive to see what we have to be thankful for instead of what we do not have, the world can be a better place and our children and grandchildren can enjoy and cherish the four freedoms that Norman Rockwell so beautifully depicted so many years ago.
As we head off to spend time with our families, we would like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!