The debate over the meaning and value of patriotism is an ongoing and free-ranging one that crosses all the commonly drawn lines of politics and society. Historically the concept derives from the tribalism of our ancestors whereby humans first drew the line of demarcation between "us" and "them," and it's the same line we continue to draw today. I won't go into it more here, Richard and Spook do that pretty thoroughly, I think.
The details of little John's birth, down to the construction of the crib, I took from the birth of my own child (a daughter, though, not a son). I think any man who's sat helplessly out there in the hospital waiting room while his wife-the woman he's sworn to protect-undergoes what's actually fairly significant (and it one time in not-all-that-long-ago history was almost always fatal) surgery, can get behind Jack's feelings. It's a scary time for the dad-to-be. But in fact a caesarian is these days an exceedingly safe method of giving birth; so far has modern medicine advanced.
These two chapters finish up the third section of the novel, and lead to the most action-packed one. Hope everyone's continuing to enjoy.