The Four Freedoms: 72nd Anniversary

On October 24, 2012, the FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island opened to the public.  According to an e-mail I received from Four Freedoms Park,  today, January 6, 2013, is the 72nd anniversary of the crafting of that speech. Following his third election to the office of President of the United States in 1940, as the rest of the world was waging wars that his country had not yet entered into, Franklin Roosevelt was preparing for his upcoming State of the Union address.

The story goes that the speech went through at least seven drafts, and it wasn’t until the fourth draft that The Four Freedoms made an appearance. According to the e-mail from Ambassador Bill vanden Heuvel, Chair of the Four Freedoms Conservancy, this is how Mr. Sam Rosenman, President Roosevelt’s longtime speechwriter and trusted adviser,  described the moment when FDR first articulated the concepts that became the foundations of the Atlantic Charter, the Charter of the United Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“We waited as he leaned far back in his swivel chair with his gaze on the ceiling … Then he leaned forward again in his chair and dictated the Four Freedoms. He dictated the words so slowly that on the yellow pad I had in my lap I was able to take them down myself in longhand as he spoke.”

The Four Freedoms?

Freedom of speech and expression…

Freedom of worship…

Freedom from want…

Freedom from fear…

Click here to see a clip of President Franklin Roosevelt delivering this important speech.

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