By Caroline Clemmons
This month is generally referred to as a month of gratitude. (See Joan Reeves’ blog here) The tale I learned of the first Thanksgiving has proven quite different from the actual story. In spite of that, we celebrate the day by giving thanks for our blessings and that we live in a free country.
Reminding me of these blessings are Norman Rockwell’s paintings of the four freedoms. Norman Rockwell is one of my favorite artists. This post is about that series.
In his 1941 address to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt described a vision of four ideals being extended to the rest of the world. These are known as the Four Freedoms--freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Those four concepts didn't resonate with the American public no matter how hard Roosevelt tried. That is, not until Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in February and March 1943. Each was accompanied by an essay.
The amazing effect was almost instant. People wrote into the Saturday Evening Post requesting reprints. The magazine reproduced them in partnership with the United States Treasury Department. The reproductions in various sizes were obtained by purchasing a war bond. The paintings were also used as posters to encourage the purchase of war bonds.
To publicize the Second War Loan Drive, Rockwell's original paintings went on a sixteen-city tour which began at Hecht's department store in Washington, D.C. At Hecht's, Rockwell made his only personal appearance on the tour. He signed autographs and talked to attendees. The show was not limited only to his work. Hundreds of other artwork of various types were on the tour. They raised $132,000,000. for the war effort. That amount represents a lot of war bonds!
By no means am I implying that all Americans enjoy each of the four freedoms. Sadly, we know this is not true. Homelessness is growing again across America. Many individuals and families do not enjoy the freedom from want. Those who live in rough neighborhoods know fear for themselves and their family members. Many don’t speak out for fear of retaliation. At least, most of us are privileged to freedom of religion.
I love Norman Rockwell’s handling of the subjects—as I love many of his other paintings. He added a touch of heart and humanity to each one. His art reminds us of better times, of the great generation, and of the heart in each of us. He reminds us to be grateful.
As Joan says, here’s my take away truth: Be grateful 365 days a year, not just on Thanksgiving Day.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and keep reading!
P.S. I’d be especially grateful if you’d preorder my two Christmas romances.
Click on the title to preorder MAIL ORDER GLORIA: IMPOSTOR FOR CHRISTMAS (due to release December 3)
Click on the title to preorder AMY: ANGEL CREEK CHRISTMAS BRIDE (due to release on December 10).
All you have to do is preorder now and each will magically appear on your e-reader on release day—another reason to be grateful.