The Four Freedoms, as a 10-year-old

Just before the Memorial's dedication ceremony on October 17, Public School 10 (based in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York) and teacher Jane Cyphers assigned the fifth-grade class of students to write an essay reflecting on President Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms. What does each of the Four Freedoms mean? Do all world citizens have access to these Four Freedoms? How can we ensure these Four Freedoms for future generations?

Days before the big event, we got a chance to read each student's essay. We were very impressed! Each essay had bold visions for how the four freedoms could reach more world citizens. Some were funny, others sad, but all were very thoughtful. One essay in particular stood out, written by 10-year-old Sebastian Bobé; Sebastian wrote about the important role each freedom plays in empowering and protecting our human race, “we need FDR’s Four Freedoms," he said "in order to keep balance in the world and in our home country.” He then defined each of the freedoms.

Freedom of speech and expression "means you have the right to seek, receive and share information and ideas…"

Freedom of worship "is about believing in any God you want without anyone telling you who you should worship…"

Freedom from want "makes sure that people’s basic needs are being met. An adequate standard of living is a basic human right and we as humans need to take care of each other…"

Freedom from fear "means that you are not allowed to physically hurt anyone and that no one is allowed to hurt you.”

We were so impressed and inspired by Sebastian’s words that we invited him to attend the Memorial's dedication ceremony. He got a chance to meet both President Clinton and Ambassador vanden Heuvel. He brought his essay to the dedication and handed President Clinton a copy who promised to read it that very day! And we know that, after reading it, he was as hopeful as we were about this young man and this fifth-grade class from Brooklyn.