The Patriot’s Handbook
‘A Patriot’s Handbook: Song, Poems, Stories and speeches celebrating the Land We Love’ is a book written by Caroline Kennedy; the only surviving child of former US president John F. Kennedy. In the book, the author Caroline Kennedy documents inspiring collections of memorable patriotic poems by different poets, song lyrics from various songs, historical documents, and speeches made by different Americans on issues of patriotism. Furthermore, the author analyses Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis best-loved Poems, therefore boosting the quality of the work. Caroline Kennedy, further analyses to the readers a collection of her own favorite all time American writings. The author collects information from different centuries, different styles and different audience, however all this information have one thing in common; they talk about the countries pride and patriotism. The author incorporates an introduction and a personal analytical description in every chapter therefore making a reminder of the values of patriotism and pride of the nation. The objective of the book is to remind the readers on the values on which the country is founded and the many sacrifices American people have made to make their country great (Kennedy 2003). Furthermore, it intends to give and insight into the foundation and progress of the countries freedom and heritage. This paper analyses the content of the book in relation to the oral interview with Debbie Ruttkoski, a military spouse. The interview takes place in the library on October 6th at 2:00 pm. Her husband was enlisted and the two major serves were in Germany and Iraq.
Patriotism, Freedom and Pride of a Nation
Patriotism is the act of being devoted to ones’ country of origin and being very concern with its progress and defense. America has come a long way and has a rich history and grounds of patriotism and freedom. The country has many renowned people who advocated for patriotism and values that would promote freedom and the owning of the nation. The challenge facing America in the recent past is the decreasing levels of patriotism therefore prompting the author to try to explain what it means to be an American and educate the people on the values on which the nation was founded. Among which are freedom, patriotism and pride of being an American. The interviews with Debbie reveals how American military is patriotic to the nation and are willing to serve the country leaving behind their families. They serve the nation in very risky environments like Iraq, in these environments they are detached from their families for long time. Debbie does not hear a word from her husband for six months except on valentine’s day, Debbie agrees that the situation if frustration and she can only hope that her husband is safe while serving the nation. Many American families go through the same ordeal when spouses and family members are out serving the nation. In the book ‘A Patriotic Handbook’, the author quotes the speeches of Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan who speak passionately in reminding the people their identity, patriotism and the sacrifice they should make for their nation (Kennedy 2003). The author further asks the reader to examine what patriotism really means to them and what how much they can stand patriotic in situations where internal and external factor challenge their assumptions. On the issue of patriotism, the author further uses humorous speeches of Mark Twain to explain her concerns on the subject.
Freedom is the condition of being free from restriction and restrains from an external factor, it is the ability of somebody to act without any distracting control from on external source. Freedom has been exhaustively been covered in the book, starting from the freedom of mind, association and freedom of being an American despite color and physical disabilities. During the interview, Debbie describes the marriage status of her sons. Joseph is thirty-four year, he is not married but he is seeing a woman who has two kids with, on the other hand, Mathew is twenty-nine years and has not been in a steady relationship this is interpreted to show the level of freedom that has been attained in the society. In the book, the author quotes many scenarios that remind the readers on the struggle for freedom and the reasons why it is important to safeguard the freedom gained. Speeches by Martin Luther King jr and Fredrick Douglas are extensively used to describe freedom and the importance of the freedom. The author quotes Martin Luther king speeches to help explain the reason why it is the duty to protect the most treasured fundamental freedom that American people have achieved (Kennedy 2003). Furthermore, the narrative quotes Elizabeth Candy in many instances advocating for freedom.
Discrimination is the unjust and unfair treatment of people of different categories based on their gender, origin, color, age or physical appearance. Debbie narrates that she was happy when his husband was back because he is a ‘50-50’ person. This means he treats her with respect and equality therefore; she is not discriminated based on her gender. He helps her in the doing the house chores. This is an indication of the America that the author talks about in the book, a country in which people are treated with equality regardless of their gender. The author quotes Bill Clinton giving a firm and clear speech on affirmative action. In the speech Bill Clinton directs all agencies to obey and comply with Supreme Court decisions encourages the agencies to implement the four standards of fairness in all their programs (Kennedy 2003). He further warns about any illegal discrimination based on gender, color or any other reason. He warns against preference in offering opportunities for people not qualified at the expense of others who are qualified, finally he warns against reverse discrimination. The theme on discrimination has been widely discussed with the author quoting Hillary Clinton giving a chronology of events the led the attainment of freedom for women. Clinton narrates that it took seventy-two years to attain freedom to vote after the signing of the accord, this proved the progress gained in fighting for freedom against discrimination (Kennedy 2003).
Another form of discrimination discussed in the book is the discrimination against people living with disabilities; these are the people with either physical or mental disabilities in the society. Ted Kennedy exhaustively talks about this disturbing issue in the book. The author quotes Ted, American citizens to treat people with disabilities like first class citizens (Kennedy 2003). He further reassures that an act to protect the people will ensure that other citizens and organizations do not segregate and fence them off from public and private amenities. Ted narrates that people living with disabilities are treated as second-class citizen and that is regrettable (Kennedy 2003). The progress made in the fight against discrimination bases on color, race, gender and physical appearance is great, furthermore, legislation made will ensure that the vice is eliminated in a bid to create a nation that every American is proud.
Debbie in the interview describes her parents as the role model she envies. She further describes them as being honest and trustworthy. These attributes are admirable and depict a perfect society. The societies in which value that help hold the society together are cultivated. On the other hand, in the book the author uses poems by Jacqueline Kennedy to explore further the value of trust and honesty (Kennedy 2003). The poems greatly describe instances where honesty and trust stand the test of time.
In conclusion, the interview with Debbie Ruttkoski, a military spouse that takes place in the library on October 6th at 2:00 pm depicts a real situation of an American family with a member in the military. It further shows the sacrifice and patriotism exercised by both the military and their family in a bid to serve the nation. The detachment that peacekeeping mission causes to victims and their families. Relating the interview with the book ‘A Patriot’s Handbook: Song, Poems, Stories and speeches celebrating the Land We Love’ by Caroline Kennedy reveals the evolution and the future of freedom, discrimination and patriotism. The book uses quotations from known Americans who actively advocated for change to explain the origin and progress of patriotism and freedom. It also uses poems and songs to explain the concepts.
Kennedy, C. (2003). A patriot’s handbook: songs, poems, stories, and speeches celebrating the land we love. Hyperion Books.