Caroline Kennedy on Principles & Values



A Patriot's Handbook: compose a narrative of America

Understanding and renewing our commitment to our fundamental civic values is a process of turning and returning to the words that defined the challenges of the past, inspired generations before us, and offer renewed insight for our own time. As I researched the selections, I was struck by the fact that we often talk with friends about movies, sports, or TV, but less often about patriotism, although being an American is one of the most profound experiences that we share. I hope that making these documents more accessible will make it easier for these conversations to occur. Of course, there are many varied realities within our society, but as a nation, there is more that unites than divides us. One of the ways we come to understand something is to compose our own narrative. Each person's story may be different, but in the process of assembling it, we can discover themes that connect us.
Source: A Patriot's Handbook, by Caroline Kennedy, p. xxii , Apr 13, 2005

Flag represents patriotism from jingoism to protest

When the stars and stripes is raised in celebration, or lowered to half-mast, as Americans we feel a surge of emotion that connects us to each other and to a larger sense of belonging. Our flag is the enduring symbol of our country, changing and evolving as our nation has grown.

There is another dimension to the symbolism of the flag. Just as it represents our shared love of country, it also represents our fundamental freedoms, among them the right to dissent. The power of the flag to embrace the spectrum of patriotism from jingoism to protest is one of its signal characteristics.

Source: A Patriot's Handbook, by Caroline Kennedy, p. 3 , Apr 13, 2005

Like Chelsea, protected from childhood public scrutiny

Jackie Kennedy had been an early supporter of Bill's. Not only had Jackie been a superb First Lady, bringing style, grace and intelligence to the White House, she also had done an extraordinary job raising her children. I asked her advice about bringing up children in the public eye.

Jackie told me what she had done to protect her children, Caroline and John. Providing Chelsea with a normal life would be one of the biggest challenges Bill and I faced, she told me. We had to allow Chelsea to grow up and even make mistakes, while shielding her from constant scrutiny. Her own children, she said, had been lucky to have so many cousins, natural playmates and friends, many of them with fathers in the public eye, too. She felt it would be much harder for an only child.

"You've got to protect Chelsea at all costs," Jackie said. "Surround her with friends and family, but don't spoil her. Don't let her think she's someone special or entitled."

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.135-136 , Nov 1, 2003

Awards "Profiles in Courage" for acting on principle

In Profiles in Courage , my father told the stories of eight senators who acted on principle and in the national interest, even though it put their own political careers at risk. Each of these men displayed a rare form of courage, sacrificing their own future, and that of their families, to do what they believed was right for our country. Their example comes down to us across the years, their stories are part of our history, and their spirit lives on.

The John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award is presented annually to an elected official who carries on this tradition. When we created the award in 1990, some doubted we would be able to find politicians worthy of the honor. They were wrong.

The courage celebrated here comes in many forms. It is the courage to compromise, as well as the courage to stand alone, the courage to cross party lines and build consensus, as well as the courage to stay the course.

Source: Profiles In Courage For Our Time, by Caroline Kennedy , Apr 30, 2003

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