Looking Back: The Four Freedoms MonumentJan 20th, 2011 | By Staff | Category: History
The Four Freedoms Monument stands tall in the center of the city of Madison. This monument is a collection of four angels, each representing a different freedom. The four freedoms represented are; the freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. These four freedoms were outlined in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address.
The statue was sculpted by Walter Russell at the end of 1941 and was dedicated in 1943. The dedication ceremony took place is Madison Square Garden in New York City. There were over 60,000 people present for the ceremony. The monument was dedicated in the memory of Colin P. Kelly, of Madison, Fl.
Colin P. Kelly was the first recognized American heroe of World War II. He was a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. He flew bombing runs against he Japanese navy during the Pearl Harbor attack. His plane was the first American B-17 to be shot down during combat. This shooting took place on December 10, 1941. Kelly’s plane fell under attack by Zeros from the Tainan Air Group, flown by the infamous Japanese pilot, Saburo Sakai. The plane was badly damaged and would not be able to fly much longer. Kelly remained at the controls in order to allow the crew members to bail out. As soon as they were free, Kelly and his co-pilot, Lt. Donald Robins, attempted to escape. Before they were able to escape, the plane exploded and ejected both of the men. Robins was able to open his parachute in time, however, Kelly was unable to open his chute. He fell to the ground and died on impact.
Colin P. Kelly was honored with several awards, memorials and works of art. He received a Distinguished Service Cross, after his death, for his “extraordinary heroism and selfless bravery.” During WWII the US Liberty ship SS Colin P. Kelly, Jr. was dedicated and named in his honor. He was also honored with the Four Freedoms Monument.
On June 14, 1944, the Four Freedoms Monument was moved from New York City and taken to the hometown of Colin P. Kelly. Governor Spessard Holland rededicated the monument in Kelly’s honor.
To this day it remains in his hometown of Madison, Fl.