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America's Four Freedoms Found on Stamps

By July 3, 2011

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The Four Freedoms stamp

On the Fourth of July I thought it might be a good idea to put in my 2 cents about freedom. Right there I've engendered my first consideration: I can write exactly what I think, without fear of some authorities breaking down my door and taking me away if they disagree with me. That freedom is called freedom of speech or expression.

Our once philatelist-in-chief, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, gave a rousing State of the Union speech in 1941 which become known as the Four Freedoms Speech. It was his thinking that the people of the world should have freedom of speech and worship, as well as freedom from want and fear.

Of course the U.S. Post Office Department didn't miss the opportunity to issue a stamp on the subject, the 1 cent green of 1943, as seen above. Another version of the Four Freedoms also appeared on the 5 cent FDR memorial stamp of 1946.

Putting these stamps in my Fourth of July blog almost makes words extraneous. Originally, I'd wondered if it was a good idea to simply put up an image of a flag stamp -- surely everyone would get the message.

But really, while the American flag is always a rousing sight, especially on The Fourth, it seemed to me that there's more to the celebration than just waving the flag. This is the time to stop and think about that symbol, well represented on the stamps of the United States. But with the symbol comes the responsibility to work for for what it represents: freedom. Anyone who doesn't believe that it means as much -- if not more -- than it ever did severely underestimates those who call themselves Americans.

Or as Roosevelt, referring to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, stated it in 1938 when he came to Gettysburg PA to dedicate the Peace Light on the 75 anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg:

"For the issue which he restated on this spot 75 years ago will be the continuing issue before this nation so long as we cling to the purposes for which it was founded -- to preserve under the changing conditions of each generation a people's government for the people's good."

FDR Memorial 5 cent stamp

Happy Fourth of July to all.

(Stamp images USPS)


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