Have a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, With Grace

 

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Saying Grace

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a gifted communicator, addressed Congress and delivered his ‘Four Freedoms’ speech that included thoughts on;

Freedom of Speech;

Freedom of Worship;

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Freedom from Want;

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and Freedom from Fear;

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The first two freedoms, speech and worship, were consistent with the First Amendment of the Constitution and were not controversial at the time, but the second two were rooted in an expansion of international foreign policy based on Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” where the federal government took far more responsibility for the economic welfare of the people than it had in any other administration, and eventually became the central tenant of modern American liberalism.

‘Freedom from Fear’ called for worldwide reduction of armaments so that no nation could threaten any other, and ‘Freedom from Want’ entailed a plan for world economic understandings that would secure for every nation a healthy life for its inhabitants. The media declared that the president had given the world “a new Magna Carta of democracy,” and the ‘Four Freedoms’ became the moral cornerstone of the United Nations.

After Roosevelt’s death at the end of World War II, his widow Eleanor often referred to the ‘Four Freedoms’ when helping draft and advocate for the passage of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, a Declaration that believes “human rights” are created by governments, not by our Creator.

After Roosevelt’s ‘Four Freedoms’ speech, the Office of War Information (OWI) decided to have the four  freedoms depicted in posters, and wanted “fine arts men, real artists to render them.” They snubbed American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell and instead asked Stuart Davis, Reginald Marsh, Marc Chagall and even Yasuo Kuniyoshi, a native of Japan and seemingly unlikely choice for American war posters, to come up with an appropriate design.

At the time, Norman Rockwell was a gifted artist who was able to capture the allure of American tradition and culture. His paintings told stories of families gathered around the dining room table, sledding down snowy slopes, skating on frozen ponds, or waiting for Santa’s arrival on Christmas day.

Rockwell knew he could depict, better than anyone else, America’s ‘Four Freedoms’ and spent the next seven months creating four paintings for the Saturday Evening Post, which were published in four consecutive issues of the Post, starting on February 20th, 1943. They were an instant hit.

The OWI quickly realizing it had made an embarrassing mistake by rejecting Rockwell, printed 2.5 million copies of Rockwell’s ‘Four Freedom’ posters, and made his four original paintings the centerpiece of a traveling war bond sales campaign which ended up raising more than $132 million dollars for the war effort.

According to art critic Deborah Solomon, author of “American Mirror, the Life and Art of Norman Rockwell,” the best painting in the series is probably ‘Freedom From Want,’ which takes you into the dining room of a comfortable American home on Thanksgiving Day. The guests are seated at a long table and no one is glancing at the massive roasted turkey or the gray-haired grandma solemnly carrying it. Solomon says to take special note of the man in the lower right corner, whose very face is pressed up against the picture plane. He has the air of a jovial uncle who perhaps is visiting from New York and doesn’t entirely buy into the rituals of Thanksgiving.

Instead of depicting a pre-meal moment of grace, with heads lowered in prayer, Rockwell painted a Thanksgiving table with no thanks, a stark interpretation of the casualness and dismissiveness that had begun to prevail toward time-honored American traditions. Had American’s begun to take their freedoms for granted?

“Sometimes we fail to hear or heed these voices of freedom because to us the privilege of our freedom is such an old, old story.” stated Roosevelt.

Thanks to Roosevelt, his version of ‘Freedom from Want’ is now seen as social justice and the resulting Marxist/NWO redistribution of wealth, and his “Freedom from Fear” has eclipsed into an American fear of a despotic government threatening to ignore America’s Second Amendment and the right to bear arms!

Almost seventy-five years later, Roosevelt’s “humanitarian” world vision, is being spearheaded by a United Nations bent on abolishing the sovereignty of the United States and it’s core freedom’s.

This Thanksgiving, may everyone open their hearts to the cherished ideals that made the United States of America, the ‘Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,’ exceptional, and be reminded that it is only through the grace of God that every American can enjoy a life founded on his principles of freedom.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may God help keep that American flag flying, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, Psalm 33:12

 

 

 

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Taking Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving would not be right without mother’s rich gravy. I was always in charge of standing on a step stool at the stove to carefully attend to it, constantly stirring out the lumps with an over-sized spoon and carefully adding just the right amount of broth to make it the right consistency. It was my favorite part of the day because my little fingers were the very first to take dips into the dark brown pool in front me and quickly and surreptitiously gulp down those little pieces of darkened turkey skin or bits of crusty stuffing that had fallen prey to the same roasting pan. Being first at anything in a family with five children was always a supreme accomplishment and I delighted in being the first to taste the best part of the meal.

Making do with what we had, including the time honored and heavily stained holly printed, linen table cloth and chipped goblets that had been washed by too many careless ”volunteers,” all added to the familiarity of the day. It was a time when the gathering of family and friends meant more than the latest decor or gourmet food item. It was a time when Grandfather, looking dashing in his bow tie and impeccable three-piece suit, sat at the head of the table, happy that his offspring were fortunate enough to provide such a wonderful bounty of food and to enjoy another wonderful Thanksgiving together.

Today as I pore over my many recipes, trying to assemble just the right menu for Thanksgiving, I feel urged to first include those dishes that deliciously bring back memories of my childhood and life as it was back in the fifties, a life that was much slower, sweeter and simpler. As I conscientiously attempt to duplicate those days, I am reminded to enjoy the process; enjoy the hunt at the grocery store for those “oddball” holiday ingredients, enjoy my time spent in the kitchen preparing for the big day, enjoy setting the table that will soon be the center of activity for another memorable Thanksgiving day filled with food, family, friends and good times. It is a time to happily fill the bird feeder, hang the wreath on the front door and sweep off the welcome mat. It is a time to open the Christmas puzzle and place it on a card table in front of the fireplace in anticipation of the lively conversation it will spark.

As one allows the “process” of Thanksgiving traditions to slowly take hold and the news of the day becomes more and more like a disdained and uninvited house guest, life seems to take on a softer edge, to slow down, become more optimistic and, like the Plymouth Pilgrims of old, center on the celebration of life’s good fortune. For those less fortunate, food banks and church members increase their efforts to make sure the disadvantaged do not go without. The tradition of Thanksgiving helped form and make America what it is today, a nation filled with good-hearted people ready to give thanks, share, and recognize God as the true provider of their many blessings.

Have the five million plus illegals been taught the history behind the Thanksgiving celebration and the significance of the words “Thanks” and “Giving”? Did Barack Hussein Obama grow up learning the significance of the American tradition of “Thankful Giving”….or did he instead learn “Ungrateful Taking?”

While giving thanks this Thanksgiving, let’s pray that Obama and his ungrateful cohorts will stop taking ….for it will be far easier for us all to give even more!

A wonderful Thanksgiving to all and do not forget to stir the gravy!