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Standing up for simple freedoms

January 6th, 2014
03:54 PM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

Imagine a world where one remarkable leader, confined to a wheelchair, stood up for free speech and the end of armed conflict.

Seventy three years ago, Nazi bombs fell nightly on London, killing thousands of civilians.

But on this day in 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt – just elected to an unprecedented third term – went before a joint session of Congress to make the case to help Britain, and prepare Americans for joining the war.

He didn't speak of what or how. Instead, he spoke of why.

He called them "The Four Freedoms,” not just for Americans, but as he stressed in his speech, for people everywhere in the world.

They were: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of every person to worship in his own way, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear.

All these decades later, Roosevelt’s dream of a world guided by his four freedoms remains to be realized.

soundoff (35 Responses)
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    There are several reasons why China will never surpass the US as the greatest nation on the planet. One of the most important is that the US stands – a little selectively, at times, true – for values and freedoms that go beyond self interest. That is also the reason the world expects the US, however weary of war and fiscally stressed it might be, to intervene in places like Syria where innocent lives are being lost. America cannot remain the world's leader only by fixing its healthcare system.

    January 6, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Reply
    • Joan Donnaway

      Wonderfully stated.

      January 8, 2014 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • Scrut

      These times are long gone. All the US atands for is greed and self-interest.

      January 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Reply
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    Why the Four Freedoms are yet to be realized – the answer can be found in the farewell speech made by another great American president Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 – "the military industrial complex" ... paradox, perhaps ironic.

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