Norman Rockwell image from artrenewal.org.
Above is "Freedom from Want", painted in 1943. The world was in flames. In January of 1943 The battle of Stalingrad ended with the surrender of the German sixth army. Stalingrad was the bloodiest battle in the history of the world, leaving two million dead. America fought the battle of Guadalcanal earlier that year. Sicily and then Italy were invaded by allied forces .We know now how the Second World War would end, but in 1943 the outcome was, of course, not known. All over the globe men fought and died to stop totalitarian Germany and Japan from enslaving the world. Seventy million lives were sacrificed to the Moloch of Nazi ambition.
Many who saw this painting must have wondered if they would ever see their familys again, and many of them didn't. Those at home wondered when they would see their husbands and sons at a happy Thanksgiving table again too.
This must be Grandma and Grandpa at the head of the table with the turkey she has cooked, after setting it on the table Grandpa would have proudly led the family in a prayer of thanksgiving for all that they had. I think he would have prayed for victory overseas and a safe return of their family and neighbors from battle. He would have prayed for an economic recovery as the nation had been in the great depression for over a decade.
We are in a war overseas again today, the casulties are numbered in the hundreds and not by the millions, and our nations economy is weakened, but it isn't nearly as damaged as it was in the thirties. Our food is not rationed as that families certainly was, and while we are concerned about the future, it has never looked as bleak in my lifetime as it must have in 1943.
I suggest that we try to feel the hope and thankfulness that Americans did when this painted prayer of thankfulness shone like a candle in the darkness. This Thanksgiving I will thank God for my family, and ask his blessing upon my friends, and my comrades in art, for you who are reading this, and for our nation.
Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you................Stape