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History of Four Freedoms Monument

On January 6, 1941, nearly a year before the attack of Pearl Harbor and the United States entered the second World War, Franklin Delano Roosevelt stood before Congress and addressed its members and our country in his State Of The Union speech. It would become better known as ‘The Four Freedoms Speech,’ as he outlined what he believed to be four basic principles of our freedoms. The Freedom of Speech, and Expression. The Freedom of Worship; the right to worship God as man feels compelled to worship him. The Freedom from Want. The Freedom from Fear. It was, with these four concepts in mind, that FDR commissioned the Four Freedom’s Monument that stands in downtown Madison today. But it did not start there. In fact, the monument, which was created by Walter Russell, was originally unveiled in Madison Square Gardens in New York City; an event which was attended by a crowd of 60,000 people. Through this monument and other mediums of art, Franklin Delano Roosevelt hoped that a greater number of people would become more inspired by his concept of the four freedoms. Perhaps he was correct, as Cleveland, Oh., bears another monument to the Four Freedoms. There is another that was built in 1976, which was raised in Evansville, In. But while the Four Freedoms Monument that stands on Madison soil is not alone in its concept of freedom, it is unique as it stands for something more. On Dec. 10, 1941, nearly a whole year after Roosevelt’s speech, and only a mere three days after the tragedy of Pearl Harbor, Captain Colin P. Kelly sacrificed himself. His sacrifice was not just to uphold the freedoms of the country he had pledged himself to defend, but also the lives of his men aboard his craft. In the honor of the sacrifice, a debt that a country cannot pay back, the Four Freedoms Monument made its journey from New York City, to take it’s place here, in Madison, Fl.. Rededicated on June 14, 1944, the monument became, at that time, more than it had been before. While it does stand to remind people of the freedoms we have enjoyed, it is also there to remind us to never forget the sacrifices made by those who laid their own well being aside in order to see that those freedoms don’t became only a concept, but a living truth of the American people and the life blood of a nation that must be preserved.

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