Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Four Freedoms - Thanksgiving Blessings

We're all familiar with the paintings and illustrations of Norman Rockwell - and at Thanksgiving we often see some of his most famous works. Although he's sometimes considered too sentimental, I think there's something real about his characters that can still speak to us. What about the lucky newlyweds above? The label tells us this turkey is a gift from Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill. I hope they're coming for Thanksgiving dinner, because the turkey looks pretty big!
And what about the glutton above? Is he punishing himself or being judged by others? He's a rather thin glutton by modern standards, but many of us will share his chagrin after that second helping of pumpkin pie!

By far the most famous of Rockwell's Thanksgiving works is 'Freedom from Want' as seen above. What you may not remember, is that this is part of a four-painting series inspired by FDR's 'Four Freedoms' address to Congress in January 1941. In a nutshell, the four freedoms that FDR outlined and Rockwell so movingly captured are: 1) Freedom of Speech & Expression; 2) Freedom to Worship God in your own way; 3) Freedom from Want; and, 4) Freedom from Fear. And while we could debate the success of spreading these four freedoms to people "everywhere in the world", I think Americans largely enjoy these freedoms and that, (in addition to our personal blessings of family, health, etc.) Thanksgiving is our opportunity to collectively give thanks for these.

Wishing you a great holiday!

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