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Freedom and Crisis
Recently, we made a wonderful discovery at the History Center. While working at rearranging the old building we were going through some items that had been long ago marked to be deassessioned and disposed of, but luckily there had been no follow through. The item we found was four rolled up war bond posters from World War II, but not just any bond posters. They were a complete set of four in the larger extra large size (42 x 56), called the “Four Freedoms” by Norman Rockwell. Aside from being a little like finding buried treasure, they seem to be a little thought provoking. Seventy years ago times were troubled, our economy had crashed and we were trying to recover from the “Great Depression”, then war came and young left for far away, many to never return. “The Four Freedoms” that we worried about were: Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom from Fear.
Where are we today? It was less than a month ago that we were faced with the question of how far should ‘freedom of speech’ go. Are funerals the right place to protest the war and political policy? Should a church be involved in protest of government action? How many times have we heard that government cannot support or display religious icons. Has 9/11 faded from our collective memory so fast that we do not see the irony in having a Muslim Center across the street from the site of the tragedy? You cannot display the Ten Commandments on public property, but you can close Madison Avenue every Friday for Islamic prayer. With unemployment officially at 9.5 percent and much higher regionally and in actuality (some places as high as 25%), “Freedom from Want” seems to be a real concern again. The economy, war in Iraq and Afghanistan (other places), terrorism, disease, natural disasters, the list goes on and on. I think we could all ponder the “Freedom from Fear.”
The span of time may have faded some the ink and aged the paper, but the beauty is still there and so is the relevance.