Freedom’s Speech Clear and Bright, Honoring in Our Hearts What is Right

Published: July 4, 2024

By Jim Lichtman
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“Freedom of Speech,” completed in 1943, is among a series of works by the American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell that depicted the “four freedoms” promoted in a Franklin D. Roosevelt speech.Credit…Norman Rockwell Museum Collections; SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

In honor of Independence Day.

In a bustling hall where voices rise,
A man stands firm, his gaze up high.
With rugged hands and weathered face,
He speaks with honor, quiet grace.

Norman’s brush, with strokes so fine,
Captures more than a moment in time.
It paints respect, a truth we share,
In every glance, a silent prayer.

Freedom to speak, to voice the heart,
Is more than words, it’s a sacred part.
Yet with this gift, a truth we find,
Respect must guide both voice and mind.

In that room, diverse and bright,
Each listens, grants the speaker’s right.
A tapestry of thought and creed,
Woven strong in a common need.

For freedom flourishes, not in force,
But in respect, its true discourse.
In Rockwell’s art, a lesson clear,
To speak with grace, to truly hear.

So let us learn from that bold scene,
To honor views, both harsh and keen.
For in respect, our freedoms grow,
A truth that Rockwell’s strokes bestow.

(Tuesday: learn where this poem comes from.)

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