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The American people. In the city of New York resent the American people. In the context of our American heritage. Traditions and characteristic institutions. Project. Whatever happened to be an American symbol and meaning as viewed by the people themselves. An 87 year old upstate New York afraid to stand up and say we're America.
A Pennsylvania born housewife and mother of two. The traditional package of patriotism which has been. National. Professor of Political Science when I am in a foreign country functions and I see the American flag I kind of like a Manhattan journalist being proud to be an American is not only corny it's downright vicious. I don't know that I'd be willing to lay down my life for my country anymore. Thomas Troy New York director of the National Committee for uncle. We sure do wave the flag or we have only neglecting the flag. But what it stands for America the United States of America the whole
world William Russia publisher of The National Review. The American nation. In its reality. In the hearts of people and I think in xterm. Tonight you will hear the voices of these and other Americans. Among them a building contractor in Ann Arbor Michigan a school teacher in Vermillion South Dakota a Brooklyn lawyer and Iowa born library a graduate student at the University of Illinois and a New York Corp. executive discussing the meaning of patriotism today. The American people. Man. Used to say the Pledge of Allegiance
to the One Nation under God but the flag just to get on the floor. Sing The Star-Spangled Banner every morning in school is kind of wrote it because I remember when I was in school we used to pledge allegiance every morning and after a while it came to being just words can really mean anything. Whether or not you brainwash somebody into being patriotic by making him put his hand over his heart and saying I pledge allegiance and raising the flag every morning as it is is very questionable to me as to what this proves really. I don't think there are any statistics on I'd be interested to know whether or not how many you know if you could clearly define people as being unpatriotic and
you survey the unpatriotic guys and see how many of them pledged allegiance how many times and what school and see whether there's any correlation with. Those that didn't I don't think you'd find any correlation. I don't think it makes you more American there were no Pledge of Allegiance such as like expression in schools especially all respect for the flag all my mission when the William F. Monaghan Democratic my shame club went out carrying a light of political wisdom to a Haitian Republican set lived across the Hudson River. We sewed to American flags as they went by Although we were a little arch of all names I don't follow though usually emerge in playing among a lot of us. We take off our act when the American flag went by but we didn't make any pol prior statement about an allegiance to the flag but we were drafted and the American flag sure. And there they went to crave our Fife and Drum Corps and now we thought attack was a band but it could shift over to
drums and one five for Mr Kramer and the bass drum and hair dye. Hair they are my chain around a land of the Free and Home of the brave to make the world safe for democracy. Just a short while ago I visited a kindergarten class and this allegiance was said so beautifully that I commented on it and I asked the teacher point of the children actually knew what they were saying. She said please question them which I did. And it's amazing they knew the words they said them clearly and distinctly and it was just amazing to hear these little
tots of three four and five years of age telling us and one little child was oh most interesting he said. My father came from Russia and I'm going home to explain this to a man I thought that was very touching. My memory of it was. That it was sort of a nice part of the morning. Somebody always got to lead it. And that was sort of nice. And you got to turn around. It's a little exercise. It's pleasant. And also it was the one thing that we used to recite in unison. That as I recall we sounded good doing because everybody seemed to know the words and they were words that you could understand and say together without jumping the wall out to very simple things really that I was pleasant and enjoyed it listening to it and doing it at the
time it didn't really make much of an impression on me. But. I'm sure that it helped in some way to shape my feelings for my country and for a feeling for the country. But I feel that this is a. This is something which has great value in helping to engender a feeling the patriotism of love for the country. Well I don't know what you're proving by all these recitations of Allegiance because I don't think that they I don't think that they make you more American I think yours yours American as your experience in this country and your upbringing. It's a function of an environment. I suppose almost totally environmental one is not born American or born patriotic. I've been kids and instinct of the man I don't think it's not because you brought up. You love the place to watch the which you are attached. Now it's cruel that it's possible to hate a place that which you are sad. But I don't think a day where you're Martin has a new reason for that kind of thing. I remember there was a kid in my class who repeated this thing
every morning and finally came up with the oddest combination of words from it meant something entirely different just because he repeated the words one right after the other I can't remember exactly what it is. It's kind of like the kid who repeated the Lord's prayer every night and finally his mother caught what he was saying and found out that he was saying Our Father who art in heaven. Halloween be thy name. You know it becomes you don't you don't know what it means anymore so I don't think it so I don't think it's an essential. On the other hand I wouldn't vote to do away with it altogether because. It means something to some people. If your children pledge allegiance to the organ even if they don't understand the words they are going through a sort of storm already. And it's a ceremony they'll never forget. And it's a ceremony that will become a part of them.
These students will pledge Allegiance in school today may one day be called the pledge their lives perhaps. One. Hundred eighty. Three. It would be nice if we had a big peaceful world but we don't and as long as we don't I think if you if you appreciate and respect what you have if you if you think what you have is good you you must be ready to defend it. And I think part of defending your country is to have a youngster to grow up. With allegiance to that country and to. Perhaps some of the symbols that represent the country. I think later on they
realize that teacher tells them that these stripes represent such and such and the stars represent the unification of 50 some are from states into one truly sovereign state. This allegiance may be something that we all need someday. I don't know what's going to happen 20 years from now. The allegiance of the flag Well it's an accepted slang. It doesn't commit you to something that you cannot carry out and you M.A. you do. Well I must admit I kind of get a lump in my throat when I see a statue of liberty but I think those things are just the trappings of a star spangled banner. The Statue of Liberty singing America the Beautiful things like. I don't identify strongly with the symbols of patriotism or of the earth or the symbols of the country. I don't care. All flutters in my heart when the when
the flag goes up or down and frankly I think that the best thing the French have is a marcy Yeah you get paid to help the Star-Spangled Banner. No I don't I don't get how or weld up and assemble it. Generally speaking I think there is a time when one can get pretty emotional with a thing but it depends on the context. I do remember John MacArthur coming home and playing hooky from school to traipse into town to watch the parade and I remember being pretty choked up when he went by I thought that was rather a grand thing. There was much of the man in the crowd in the scene and the occasion and I guess there were some American flags flying around but I didn't look at the American flag and get choked up over the thing. And I watch enough flies go up and down and the army and watch the guns go off and seen retirement parades for generals and even marched in them and seen all the. Bugle corps and Barber wasn't bangles and beads and I don't get I don't get that
welled up emotionally about I'm not that emotional about the symbols of this country. I don't know how many people or I think maybe it would be a good thing if. If people could get as emotional about the flag as they do about the Beatles but that. My personal reactions to the external symbols can be emotional but it has always been in connection with another event. Now I remember coming back on a ship and seeing the Statue of Liberty in company with a group of English people who were emigrating to this country. Of course I could understand the language and they were articulate people. And it was very important to them they were showing their little boy I was about 8. The Statue of Liberty and explain to him where to come from and what it meant. And I think that seems to me they were reading the inscription which is a very moving thing I think.
And. I was moved then but not so much by the statue per se as by the relationship between it and these people. The flag has moved me tremendously. First of all I think it's a very beautiful flag. I like the form of it. And. From. My kitchen window I see two of them flying. And the day when Kennedy died. At the time that they were announcing that he was dead on the radio I happened to be looking out of the window. And the flag was being lowered to half mast as I watched. And. This to me was tremendously moving. But again it's in relation to an event rather than just as an isolated symbol. The national anthem. Is so seldom well so I have great difficulty reacting
emotionally to it. I like it when it's well played. But. Not very many people can sing it. Eat. Eat. Eat. The eat. The food. Week three. Yeah.
I am embarrassed when I see people wave flags. I mean literally wave flags I am embarrassed when I see people spontaneously so-called spontaneously giving a spontaneous exhibition of patriotism by singing My Country Tis of Thee and in the middle of Forty second Street and Broadway. I am embarrassed when I see super Americans or even Americans who are not super of the left standing in front of the United Nations building and say things that can only be taken by. By foreigners as a foolish nationalism. When they wave their flag and say.
We are trying to give the rest of the world democracy the communists are trying to stop us. But I think it's dangerous when people get that mixed up with patriotism because that's not what it is at all. I mean that's not what patriotism is at all. So that's just sort of the outward signs. And you have to kind of separate the rest of the country from New York City because New York City is really an island unto itself. From what I know of people in the rest of the country I think most of them thank that they're patriotic. But they don't really think about what it is to be patriotic. And so they get all mixed up in these trapping. They think that you're patriotic if you salute the flag and if you don't say anything against the government and if you sing The Star-Spangled Banner. But. But they don't think about. The
necessity. For preserving. The principles of government. I don't think I even know most of them don't even. Know quite. What it all means. You know to be an American. And how being an American differs from being a Russian. I mean aside from the fact that Russians live in Russia an American home in the United States you know they mostly think they're patriotic much more so than for instance Midwesterners think they're much more patriotic than Easterners they are a problem for being a very good government. If so indoctrinate that boy. Whether it's a bird or a patriot a bird maintaining the American way of life the flag goes by by Henry home been it Hats off along the street there comes the blamer bugle ruffle of drums a flash of color beneath the hats our flag is passing
by. New and cream and white it's all over the field to order. How far the color is before us. But more than that blanket pathing. I think patriotism has a much deeper meaning. Than waving a flag or getting up making a speech on the 4th of July or any of the normal manifestations of patriotism I think it basically concerns itself with one's commitment to. So was country. It can be a thoughtful patriotism. It doesn't mean my country right or wrong no matter what it means my country right or wrong in the light of critical thinking. Or airily. Do we come to the point where. We're called upon to make a
choice. My country no matter right or wrong this is a war time. Situation and I feel great. I love my country. I think we have made some big mistakes. You know foreign policy you know internal policy. This does not mean this is a personal belief. This does not in any way diminish my feelings for my country. I think my country right or wrong verges on fanaticism not patriotism. Certainly some people love our country deeply and support it. Without question and are quick to rally to the defense of our country and any issue other people may not support it as strongly although they're certainly as patriotic as the first group. But they might be more reluctant to defend our country. My country right or Iran to be a patriot. Now if you feel as though your country is doing something wrong there's no reason why you can't criticize
your country. People who say. He's not a patriot he's against American he's a communist he's a socialist or something like that are way off base to describe you know patriotism is based on an idealism that man made answer for a conqueror idealist and I suffered a great deal. Which seven years of warfare. But they were just Charmin that they would live as free people. They suffered at Bunker Halla rage channel Lexington Saratoga all places. But out of out of their route may of patriotism. Is that a man must have an idealism that is Kono maintain that principle being enough for a man and he's willing to suffer and I am
starved like the older generation did. From time immemorial the classicist have talked about pride as being a dangerous thing. Pride. Is synonymous. In my eyes with patriotism. Consequently patriotism has to be a dangerous thing when you put your country first. Above common sense. About the feel the feelings of other people. Particularly in this day and age. You're making a terrible mistake morally politically strategically. You are and you are indeed endangering your own life far more than you have to an already dangerous nuclear age. Oh and I'm afraid the
term patriot many times becomes confused with the term flag waver and in. Many of the associations I've had with it I think possibly the best example we've had in the last few years of a patriot rather than our president and I think they should be held in a separate category is John Glenn. His comments on respect to the flag. The feeling that one has when he is doing a job for his country. I mean a lot. Love of country. It's so to me connotes a situation wherein a person's motives are not subject to scrutiny. At the moment but rather a done on a true dire to perform my in that responsibility which he has through citizenship itself the very act of citizenship. I don't think it's possible for any person will really love this country not to be a good fleece that sems to be a good citizen. It may not always
succeed and doing so doesn't mean that it does not do certain thing but rather which are not qualification of good citizen ship but nevertheless the FM's to be a good citizen if you love this country I think the word patriotism and love of one's country devotion to one's country and to work for one's country I sometimes see. Think that this word is becoming a dirty word as such in the country and I think this is very harmful. I think those three points of patriotism are the most important things that she values. Patriotism is the emotion that it can arise in a country it's the most important uniting force to a country. It's the it's a force that holds a country together. In effect Patriotism is the force that made countries it's the force that brought about the evolution of absolutism in the 1830s 1840s and 70s in Europe. Patriotism is a force that isn't actually made the country great it's cause wars Yes but it's also cause independence movements
from dictators from FCP kings. It's the one it broke up the Austria-Hungary an area where it's the force that brought about the openness of the American colonies it's the force that united France it's a force that united Germany it's the force that down right about the creation of holiness. We're surprised about the creation of every state. Those states that are in trouble today is because they lack. Of course if you think of the march of empire. There was a certain point the average American could have this right hand times and it's back and it could lick anybody with his left hand and that was the idea that they could lick the world. Now I don't think Americans realize with the exception perhaps of Mr.
Bennett Goldwater I don't think as a rule soon come the my time but it's just it's a shrewd expression of faith for change but I do not think the faith which is the most change you know. People still love the country. If that's a flamboyant just for instance taking a stand on civil rights I think it is an act of patriotism. Taking a positive stand on desegregation. To me this is an act of patriotism I think a feeling of love for your country is an act of patriotism. I think it must go beyond merely just saying standing up. When you hear the national anthem. I think there should be a definite feeling that this is something to depression. Do. You feel that you are a part of your country. Being a part of the country. Because. I think there's an act of patriotism.
There are men who would rather be behind bars in the United States than free to live anywhere else in the world. They would rather live here in freedom elsewhere. There's a great tug in among women travelling from some place in Switzerland to Belgium. And as we travelled on this train she was and and the little boy had never been before. And the woman was going home for the first taking her son and he was perhaps seven. And as we approached she became more and more agitated. She kept looking out the window until they were almost there and I was sitting in the
same compartment with this woman and I looked out and the scenery was identical. As we crossed the great tears welled up in this woman's eyes and she was completely shaken. I couldn't see the difference. One side of the border the other. But she was and this is this is I guess the way I feel about this country.
The American people
What is patriotism, part 1
Producing Organization
WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of two parts, uses interviews with various Americans to explore attitudes about patriotism in the middle part of the twentieth century.
Series Description
This series examines contemporary American issues through interviews and personal essays.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
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Interviewee: Rusher, William A., 1923-2011
Interviewee: Gerson, Thomas I.
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Reporter: Nixon, Walter
Reporter: Strugnell, John, 1930-2007
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-Sp.17A-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:35
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Chicago: “The American people; What is patriotism, part 1,” 1964-06-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
MLA: “The American people; What is patriotism, part 1.” 1964-06-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <>.
APA: The American people; What is patriotism, part 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from