With Liberty

Songs & Stories From Home Episode 58 (2020)





It goes back to the scriptures and back to the founders 

Back to what we pledged on our first day of school

Back to a dream of Martin Luther King

Back to what we mean by the Golden Rule

It’s a beautiful dream that says everyone’s equal

With rights to life, liberty, happiness too

A dream full of hope for a more perfect union

It’s still not too late for that dream to come true 


With faith we can fly on the wings of a dream

We still may become all we hoped we could be 

It will take everyone and we’ll have to believe

That we can fly on the wings of a dream


©Copyright 2020 Love Gives More Music


Welcome to Songs and Stories from Home as we continue on the Wings of a Dream. This week WITH LIBERTY

What do we mean when we end the Pledge of Allegiance with the words Liberty and Justice for All? When it comes to liberty we are a country steeped in myths of hearty individualism and personal freedom, ideas we often express loudly and boldly. We unfurl and wave Don’t Tread on Me flags. We are the land of 400 million firearms in civilian hands, nearly half of the world’s total. We proclaim, protest, and protect the right to stand our ground. Yet despite how tightly we hold on to individualism we also pledge allegiance to one nation, under God, indivisible. In other words, if we are to be true to our pledge, like it or not we are all in this together, free to do our own thing, sure, but also free to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

After much consideration about what Liberty in the Pledge of Allegiance might mean, I chose President Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms as a model. Ideas he shared in his State of the Union Address in January of 1941. Roosevelt said that everyone should know what it means to have Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. 

Inspired certainly by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution which says: 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.

The First Amendment inspired by the Magna Carta, the first written constitution in European history. Dating back more than 800 years. Our human search for meaning, for wanting to know what belongs to us, what we owe to others, it goes way back. 

In the middle of 20th century there was an artist in America who brought to life often idealized images of what it was to be American. His name was Norman Rockwell. In the spring of 1942 after America had entered the war, he decided he would illustrate Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms in hopes of raising money to help pay for the war effort. It’s said he found the task so daunting it was months before he picked up his paint brushes and when he finally finished, he said it was a project that should have been tackled by Michelangelo. As it turned out Rockwell’s images toured the country and were seen by more than a million Americans. The paintings became part of the most successful campaign ever to raise money for the war effort. Four million sets of posters of the paintings were distributed to schools and other institutions throughout the country. In the process they became a perfect visual complement to Roosevelt’s aspiring and inspiring words. The Four Freedoms are imprinted now on the American psyche, and what they look like and what America looks like continues to be reimagined.


Freedom of Speech to have our voices heard and to listen to others’ voices. To combine our voices and to peaceably assemble. To have our voices heard in the halls of government. 

Freedom of worship We are a nation of immigrants where church and state are considered to be separate and separated and each of us is free to choose how or if we worship. In 1961 Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote that besides having freedom of religion we are if we choose granted freedom from religion.

Freedom from want More and more instead of acting like one nation indivisible we act like a nation of individuals who believe that personal liberty does not come with responsibility to something greater than ourselves. In order to truly be a nation free from want we need to continue to look for ways to assure that opportunities are available to all so that no one is left behind or left wanting.

Freedom from fear. In 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt in his first speech as President, said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And then he set out to do anything and everything he could think of to make things better, knowing that while all of us live with fear we should not have to live in fear. Too often politicians reinforce our fears. We act differently when we are afraid. How much better our world and this country is when we are motivated by love and not fear.




I had a dream the other night

That our country somehow made things right

Was surprised at what it looked like

What had been there all along


We looked like one nation under God Indivisible 

With Liberty and Justice for All




With faith we can fly on the wings of a dream

We still may become all we hoped we could be 

It will take everyone and we’ll have to believe

That we can fly on the wings of a dream


©Copyright 2020 Love Gives More Music