Watch this video about pledging allegiance to the American flag. Every day school kids across the USA carry out this ritual. Why do you think this is an important part of the school routine? Do we have similar school routines in Norway?
What is an American?
If you have read some of our texts about The USA - Immigration, the Melting Pot or American Values, you are aware of the fact that it is difficult to state exactly what it takes to be an American or to become an American.
From Many to One
How was it possible to "Americanize" people flocking to the United States of America bringing along their own cultures and values? A measure that has proven quite effective to make one nation out of the millions of immigrants that have crossed the American borders, is the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Pledge of Allegiance
This oath of loyalty to the flag was composed in 1892. Since then it has been revised four times. The most significant and latest revision was in 1954 when the clause "under God" was added. Now it reads:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Today the pledge is recited in about 50% of the states.
Patriotism vs. Nationalism
The wording and practicing of the pledge has been criticized. For many people the hardest part to swallow was the addition about God. Core American values are based on religious freedom.
Patriotism, which means to stand up for your country and be proud of its values, is an important part of a cultural identity. However, where do we draw the line between nationalism, where you look upon your values as the best and only alternative, and patriotism?
1. How many "typical" American symbols do you find in this video?
2. What kind of symbols do you find? Is it possible to put them in categories?
3. What kind of values do the symbols represent?