Thousands of Iowans are without homes as winter approaches. When we give thanks on Nov. 24, let us remember them and the organizations that serve them. You can make a difference.
Four centuries ago, 53 surviving Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the 90 indigenous Wampanoag people.
We often forget that those Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom, were homeless when they set sail for the Americas in 1620. A year later, they not only celebrated the harvest but, more importantly, gave thanks for shelter.
When your family gathers in your home this year, chances are you will prepare the same type of meal depicted in Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want.” The painting, created 80 years ago, features grandparents serving a large turkey to generations of smiling, happy relatives.
Rockwell based this and three other paintings on Franklin Roosevelt’s famous “Four Freedoms” speech delivered to Congress in 1941. Franklin, concerned about war in Europe, reminded Americans about our fundamental rights: freedom from want and fear and of speech and religion.
When people lack a home, they confront the twin terrors of want and fear, muting their voices.
The homeless, of course, are free to worship in the many churches, temples and synagogues that also feed those without permanent shelter.
Roosevelt might have added another right: freedom from homelessness. Rockwell likely would have portrayed that within the convention of his times, depicting parents on the front porch of a dwelling as children frolicked behind a white picket fence.
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