A while ago I read an article about a group of parents who were all pissed off because their kids were being exposed to the Pledge of Allegiance. At first I thought this had to be about the “under God” part, but it turns out the issue is with the notion of pledging your allegiance to one particular country.

The fuss is happening at the John Stanford International School, which is a public elementary school that offers a dual-language immersion programs in Spanish and Japanese, and sports “interior design elements reflecting a world culture.” Sounds like an interesting, progressive environment—and apparently until recently they’ve been been the one special snowflake school that doesn’t observe the Pledge. Even though it’s been mandated by district policy and state law for years.

A new principal decided that John Stanford needed to start following the rules, so an announcement went out to parents that the students would start reciting the pledge every morning. You know, just like every other kid in every other Washington school.

Naturally, because this is Seattle, some parents freaked the fuck out. A mother of a six-year-old said, “It pains me to think that at a school that emphasizes thinking globally we would institute something that makes our children think that this country alone is where their allegiance lies.”

Another parent apparently opposes the flag itself: “But it’s ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag,’ not even the country. I don’t think we should be making kids stand up and pledge to any one thing. It just totally goes against what this community is about.”

Yet another parent wrote in to say, “The pledge of allegiance is forced patriotism. It is indoctrination. The principal’s decision doesn’t take into consideration the diversity of cultures, values, nationalities of JSIS families and staff. And then there’s the ‘under God’ part…”

The policy went into effect in October, at which point flyers started showing up on posts near the school:

Screen shot 2011-11-04 at 1.09.32 PM
Photo credit Joshua Trujillo/seattlepi.com

I cannot even make this up: the flyers read, I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all it’s (ARGH POSSESSIVE APOSTROPHE FAIL) natural systems. Interdependence is what I seek, on one planet, with one people, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

So, okay. I can understand feeling uncomfortable about the “under God” section, which was just added in 1954. I can understand if you don’t want your child to have to say something he or she doesn’t believe in. I can understand advocating that the laws be changed about the pledge, if that’s what you’d like to see happen. But I cannot begin to understand how anyone thinks their school is so unique it shouldn’t be subject to the same laws as the rest of the state. Nor can I figure how these words are offensive to the various cultures in our country.

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.

I mean, are we not united, regardless of race, creed, religion, etc? Is it really so bad to remind ourselves that we’re in this mess together? Hell, I’m no traditionalist, but I like the idea of Riley’s super-diverse (like, way more diverse than this John Stanford International School, according to student demographics) school saying the pledge—to me it’s less RAH RAH GO TEAM AMERICA ALL OTHER COUNTRIES CAN SUCK IT, and more of a statement that we remain undivided, even when everything seems to be falling to shit around us.

Here’s the part that really makes me crazy about this whole thing: if students who don’t want to participate in the pledge THEY DON’T EVEN FUCKING HAVE TO. They’re allowed to quietly sit or stand, whatever they choose. No one’s forcing them to say it, no one’s forcing them to believe it. So what the hell?

What do you think about all this? Are you for/against the pledge in your kid’s school?

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Jessic
Jessic
10 years ago

Your points are valid and exactly what I though abotu the whole thing. My daughter is not fortunate enough to go to a “good” school like Stanford(because of the whole neighborhood school system). There are kids in that school that barely can spell their own name. Perhaps getting wrapped up about the pledge of allegiance is the wrong battle.

Jessica not Jessic
Jessica not Jessic
10 years ago

Also, I can’t spell my own fucking name.

Janssen
10 years ago

Having been in an elementary school as a librarian, this kind of thing makes me insane because it is SO distracting to the whole school environment. Why so much attention and focus on this (not even required) instead of actually learning academic skills? (I’m just waiting for people to say that this kind of thing DOES teach about the politic process and making changes and inclusion, etc, but my experience makes me think that kids are actually more likely to learn how insane people become in this kind of conflict and that everyone loses their ability to function like a rational and civil human being).

And, like you, I like the general sentiment of the pledge of allegiance.

melanie
melanie
10 years ago

The pledge has been out of our public schools for years, if not for my kids private preschools (well and me leading the pledge every now and then in our home) they would never have learned or said it. I think it’s a real shame, because we use the freedom of this country to bitch about EVERY.SINGLE.THING …. honestly I am to the point where I am starting to believe that if you want a “special” school, flipping start your own…. fund it yourselves, and then teach/observe whatever-the-hell you want. My parents paid for my Catholic education for that very reason, no public school was/is flipping expected to teach the religious education I received there. Tax dollar funded PUBLIC schools should be able to recite the Pledge if they so desire…. if you wish to tell your children that its a load of crap, then do so… after all you the country you live in, which you do not pledge allegiance to, affords you that right.

melanie
melanie
10 years ago

and *ack* on my use of the word flipping in my comment and the extra You at the end…. GAH, my emotions got the best of me

Jessica
Jessica
10 years ago

I’m all for saying the pledge in school. I do understand that the God part of it is not for all, in which case I think it’s fine if they want to sit it out. But it does mean something to our country and it is a way to show that we are all different but part of the same place at that time.

Annie
Annie
10 years ago

I would venture a guess that the kids could give a shit less. As a 50 yr old who said it in elementary school, I never gave it much thought….just part of the school day, waiting to get to recess. Do they even have that anymore????

Jill Browning
10 years ago

These people are a bunch of nut bags.

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

I’m pretty damn liberal and progressive, but would have no problem with my kids saying the pledge in school. I would rather it didn’t have “under God” in it, but not enough to get worked up about it. I like the sentiment of the pledge and think that patriotism is appropriate and a unifying, positive and CONSTRUCTIVE element in society.

Also, I think people should be allowed to abstain from saying it, if they wish to.

agirlandaboy
10 years ago

Against. I think it’s totally unnecessary, archaic, and dumb. The “under God” part first seemed wrong to me when I was nine, and the whole stand-up-and-put-your-hand-on-your-heart-and-pledge-allegiance-to-ANYTHING-like-a-little-soldier stuff still just creeps me right the hell out. Why not just sing the school song and be done with it?

uccellina
10 years ago

Growing up, I was very uncomfortable with the Pledge because as a girl-child in a mostly Black school system, I knew damn well that the country didn’t have liberty and justice for all, and since my parents had raised me not to believe in god the whole thing made me feel like we were all being told to stand up and lie every morning. And just because you’re not supposed to be forced to say it doesn’t mean you won’t catch shit from your teachers for not saying it.

Amelia
10 years ago

Thank you for being so rational about this. We say it every week in Rotary INTERNATIONAL meetings and I don’t think it detracts from the focus on the international nature of Rotary at all.

What bothers me more than anything is that there is so much more to worry about and expend energy on and THIS ISN’T EVEN A THING. It’s a law. Your school must observe the law. Isn’t that a better lesson to be teaching? That we are all subject to the same laws and if you want to change something, there is due process? How about recognizing that the Pledge has a place in our history and using it as a lesson-starter for history as well as politics? GAH! It’s making me crazy.

akeeyu
akeeyu
10 years ago

It never really bothered me as a kid, although in middle school I stopped saying “under God,” but as an adult?

Man, I don’t think I could say it without wanting to tack a little extra something on the end, something about liberty and justice for all who can afford it.

Reading (and chickens)
10 years ago

Hey! That’s my neighborhood! Woo hoo!

For some insight, I think a lot of the families who attend are very (liberally) politically-minded and feel like agirlandaboy put it. It creeps them out. They chose the school partly BECAUSE of the way it was run (because it is a difficult school to get into, since Seattle schools have a weird system for registration), so it’s hard to swallow if your kid has been going there six years and then they change it up all of a sudden. You’re not going to yank your kid out of school after all that time. That said, I, uh, don’t really care either way. I don’t think my kid’s school says it, but you know what? I don’t even know for sure. I am not so into the politics.

As for diversity, lived here six years and I can say safely that Wallingford is wonder-bread white. Bellevue’s going to be waaay more diverse than anything in the north end. You should see my family in Ballard. Gimme a field roast hot dog on organic multi-grain essential bakery bread at the farmer’s market while sipping some Caffe Vita as I lean on my single-speed resurrected retro Schwinn. Um, yeah, right.

Trina
Trina
10 years ago

John Stanford International School is pretty close to my house. That is just the tip of the crazy ass liberal hippie iceburg around here. It doesn’t surprise me at all that this is happening especially at that school.

Shelly
Shelly
10 years ago

I’m for saying the pledge. Archaic and dumb? Is national pride or a national sense of unity archaic and dumb? We still, as a nation, have tough problems to tackle, even if they aren’t war-like in nature (referencing the argument that saying the pledge is soldier-like). Teaching students that we’re part of a group, a national community with something in common is a lesson that could actually serve the global spirit in which the school was founded. Saying the pledge is not indicating that because you have national pride and allegiance that you cann’t have understanding, tolerance and agreement with other nations. But our planet and human culture does happen to align into nationalities at the current moment — are these parents advocating that there should not be individual nations? Such a silly, trivial argument from people whose ideals should ideally turn them towards actively working on solving real problems that are facing the global community, and not whether children in a country should exhibit national pride. Oh, and OPTIONAL national pride at that.

MRW
MRW
10 years ago

I guess I feel most like Janssen – there are so very many more issues in education to get fired up about that this feels like a distraction from real problems like our ever shrinking school year, growing class sizes, teaching to the test required by No Child Left Behind type stuff, hardly any time for lunch or recess, decreasing things like music and gym. All of those things make me fired up – this is so far behind all of that.

Sara
Sara
10 years ago

This school, even though public, is a privilged school in a very white neighborhood. Now, that doesn’t make it a bad thing, but you can sense the very liberal NIMBY thing going on here. And I myself am a bleeding heart liberal, but still this just makes my hackels rise.

I can understand why one might object to the pledge of allegiance, but this is what they are taking a stand on? This? Making a political statement with their children? How about have a conversation with your child and talk about your own beliefs and then let them choose whether or not to say it in class. No one ever hassled anyone who opted out in any of my very diverse (South) Seattle Public school classes.

I just feel like this is such a non-issue. How about putting that energy elsewhere? Oh say… helping this current local school levy pass so that there is just a smidge more funding for schools in less white bread neighborhoods with working parents who don’t have the time to worry about the pledge of alligance, where most the kids are on two free meals at day at school?

Sarah
10 years ago

Can I copy your post and just post it every once in a while when someone gets all crazy about something stupid? There are so many more important things to worry about and it’s because we live in this country that we can express that worry and do something about it. That should be celebrated – and if you’re not going to celebrate it, acknowledging that our country is a little bit unique in how it runs would be fine. Saying the pledge isn’t going to kill anyone, HEARING it said – since we live in a country where you can opt out without some horrible consequence, isn’t going to scar you for life. Maybe it could just be used as an opportunity for some good RATIONAL discussions at home chalked up to another learning opportunity.

Nolita
10 years ago

For it. Agree about putting the energy elsewhere….

Alley
Alley
10 years ago

Having to recite a little poem every morning before school did not make me any more or less patriotic than anyone else (and by high school, we just stood there while it was read over the loudspeaker because it was so pointless). It’s almost like it makes the adults feel better and happier that the kids are doing it, but I remember not caring and unthinkingly saying the words while worrying about tests or whatever.

I’d like anyone that thinks it’s super-easy to simply sit it out to go back in time and tell that to the teachers that would glare at us during assemblies and tell us that if we didn’t put our hands over our hearts and at least mouth the words, we were getting detention. People get worked up about something that, to most kids, is simply something said rote, without meaning. I mean, they could’ve had us recite the Adams Family theme every morning and it would’ve made just as much difference–we were just tired and wanted to get going. Quite frankly, because it wasn’t a daily part of my life, the national anthem means more, patriotically, to me than the pledge ever did or does(YMMV if you had to sing that every day). Now the pledge strikes me as a weird Cold War hang-over that people argue is to be inclusive, but can be extremely exclusive if one even suggests that it’s a bit creepy.

Patriotism for one’s country comes from more than just thoughtlessly reciting a phrase every day. That being said, I think this reaction is a bit weird, and that seems like the kind of school where perhaps children would be more easily able to sit out the pledge than the schools I attended.

agirlandaboy
10 years ago

To clarify, there’s nothing wrong with patriotism or national pride or any of that. But the idea that people think getting a bunch of schoolkids to automatically recite a paragraph every morning is the best way to honor that (rather than giving them a fuller education about the nation and its freedoms) feels a bit too similar to hitting “Like” on Facebook if you support cancer research rather than going out and actually raising money or doing charity work to make something happen. The pledge, to me, is just lip service. If you want to talk about national pride, actually talk about it.

I wonder what would happen if all the parents at that school talked to their kids about opting out, and so every morning the pledge was given over the p.a. to an entire school of students just sitting at their desks doing nothing. Funny to think about.

bad penguin
10 years ago

We had to say it when I was a kid, and as I recall, to me it was just a bunch of words I had to memorize and say. The end. Not a big deal at all.

Now, they also made us say morning prayers, and even in third grade I hated that. I once got in trouble for dawdling on my way back to class after taking our attendance slip to the office, because I was hoping to miss the prayer. Yes, I was a little heathen even at age 8.

I suppose to some kids the pledge could feel as oppressive as those prayers did to me. But honestly,I think it is the parents who make it a big deal and the kids don’t notice or care.

wendy
10 years ago

Damn. For a minute there I thought you’d relocated to San Francisco.

I’m shocked that this wasn’t on the front page of the SF Chronicle advocating that we adopt the new language in all public schools.

I remain firmly based in the “say it” league. You don’t want to pledge allegiance to the flag of THIS country? Try another. Please move. I am sure you will find acceptance and “united for all” in a number of other places. Or perhaps not….

Sarah Bell
Sarah Bell
10 years ago

This whole issue makes me insane. As you know, Linda, I live very close to this school and I positively DREAD sending my kids to our neighborhood school that is populated by privileged (white, rich) parents like those whose children attend JSIS. I dealt with all of this as a child in ultra-liberal Marin County, CA and while I did grow up to be a bleeding heart, school-levy-supporting, tax-me-because-I-can-afford-it liberal, the fact remains that communities like those at JSIS and the schools I attended get so incredibly insular they can’t see the forest for the trees and end up spinning around in circles over silly things like this. I can’t understand why these parents can’t act like the intelligent people they probably are and talk the issue over with their kids. The law is the law; that’s an important lesson, too.

Carla Hinkle
Carla Hinkle
10 years ago

I’m not wild about the “under God” part, but I don’t have strong feelings about saying/not saying the pledge … I am unsure why the parents who feel so strongly don’t just (1) tell their kids to opt out, if they want (which seems like the rational course) and (2) work to change the law. You can’t just expect your special snowflake school not to follow the law, right? So the teacher or whoever has to lead the pledge, the kids don’t have to say it. The end, move on to something more important.

uccellina
10 years ago

Wendy’s comment above is a nice example of why the Pledge makes me uncomfortable. Love it or leave it! A truly American sentiment, amirite?

Liz
Liz
10 years ago

I think the Pledge is pointless. I’m not thrilled my daughter has to say it in school. How can a 6-year-old pledge allegiance to *anything*? She recited it for us the other day and I asked her if she knew what any of it meant. She said no. My husband and I are atheists. My daughter doesn’t know what she is yet. In this country, the “under God” part should have no place in whether you are patriotic. It’s funny that the original said “one nation, indivisible” and they then went and divided that phrase up with something very divisive.

I think the part about students being able to opt out is disingenuous, especially kids younger than high school. They don’t really have a choice, not when other kids and their teacher can give them a hard time about it. I had a Jehovah’s Witness in my class in elementary school and she did not have an easy time.

Regardless of all that, we probably won’t make a big deal out of it. I don’t know if that’s because I don’t feel incredibly strongly about it or because I’m a coward.

Jenny
10 years ago

When I was a kid and recited it everyday it was fairly meaningless, I’m sure. As an adult, when I recently volunteered at the school and stopped to recite it with the rest of the school it suddenly seemed fairly powerful. I don’t think it is archaic or dumb, and I think it is certainly relevant especially with so many families that have loved ones fighting for our country at this very moment. WHETHER OR NOT we feel that they should be fighting, they are, and those are the people who maybe feel a tiny bit of magic when the pledge of allegiance is said. I am most definitely not a rah rah go team America sort of person myself, but I think the pledge is far from dated or stupid.

Linda
Linda
10 years ago

On the argument that kids will be ridiculed for opting out of the pledge (ie, sitting quietly, or standing and not saying anything), does that really seem realistic? After all, if kids also say it without thinking or caring, why would they attack a classmate for staying quiet? I can’t really imagine that happening. “WHY AREN’T YOU PLEDGING ARE YOU SOME KINDA COMMIE PINKO.” *fisticuffs ensue*

I also have a hard time with the idea of a teacher giving a kid shit for not saying the pledge. I could be wrong, but at least around here they’d be asking for a WORLD of parental outrage.

Lisa M.
Lisa M.
10 years ago

I’m against saying the pledge, particularly for small kids who don’t really get it anyway. I object to the “under god” part, but even if that were omitted, I would still dislike the pledge, mainly, because I don’t want to pledge blind allegiance to a country/flag/administration who may or may not have my best interests at heart. In other words, I want the option to disagree with the current administration.

I agree with the person above who said that the P of A is lip service anyway.

I note that there are several people here that have hurled insults at the people that hold an opposing view. This is what I dislike intensely about our country. We’re not indivisible; we can’t even tolerate differences of opinion in conversation.

Liz
Liz
10 years ago
Mel
Mel
10 years ago

I think I stopped saying the pledge when I was 12. It definitely creeps me out. To ask children to spew out something like that when they don’t even know what they are saying is wrong and just weird. I know it’s hard to be a non-conformist, especially at a young age. Just as I don’t think a school should make kids say the pledge, I won’t tell my kids not to say it. I hope they’ll make that decision on their own as they get older.

As a young child, I was very impressionable and I took what I was told by my parents very literally. I believe my stance on the flag/pledge initially stemmed from learning the Christian commandment instructing people to not worship false idols. My reasoning is very different now. I believe blind patriotism is dangerous and can result in stupid stuff like people killing other people over oil and worse. (That last bit, I remember learning in high school social studies in my non-liberal farming community public school.)

uccellina
10 years ago

For the record, I actually WAS called a communist in middle school (only because my family came from Russia – kids didn’t know what it meant, they just thought it was an insult). Kids certainly will ridicule other kids for taking a stand on anything religious, cultural, political or ideological that’s different from the mainstream. And maybe in your neighborhood teachers wouldn’t dare to press the issue with non-pledging children or would stand up for them if other kids teased them, but I don’t think that’s the case everywhere, even today.

parodie
parodie
10 years ago

As a non-American, watching this from afar, the pledge of allegiance seems bizarre. I don’t know of any thing like it. It is absolutely about conformity and allegiance to one’s country to the exclusion of all others. It ties in with all the rest of your (frankly) weird (and creepy!) nationalistic propaganda. I love y’all, but you’re sometimes creepy and when you’re defending stuff like this most of all.

Most surreal experience of my life was quite possibly attending a small town fall fair parade in 2002, theme: “Let Freedom Ring”. The only non-creepy part, to me as an outsider, was the hippie school with their green and yellow and red freedom=peace float. God bless the hippies.

akeeyu
akeeyu
10 years ago

I love the recurring theme that keeps popping up in some of the comments:

“It’s really not a big deal, so just STFU and DO IT.”

Liz
Liz
10 years ago

akeeyu, my other favorite is, “you wouldn’t even have the choice to not say it in another country, so you should say it!”

Katharine Coldiron
10 years ago

I…just…what??

I don’t have kids, but I remember saying the Pledge in school, and although I never said “under God” if I could help it, I don’t remember thinking anything whatsoever about it being patriotic. It was just something we said every morning. I don’t think I’ve even thought about the damn thing for 10 years, and I certainly don’t think of it when I think about how patriotic I feel about living in this country.

I guess I understand how people could not want their kids to be indoctrinated into worshipping the flag/country/whatever, but I’m not sure it makes a bit of difference to the actual kids. And aren’t they nominally doing it for the kids? Hollow.

Katharine Coldiron
10 years ago

I also find it really funny that the first couple of lines of the pledge they made up (which, I’m kind of an earth-huggy type, but yark) follow the same rhythm as the real Pledge. That rhythm is SUNK INTO OUR LIZARD BRAINS from having to say it thousands of times during our formative years.

alyn
alyn
10 years ago

I find it strange that ANY school is saying the pledge EVERY Day. I know that my kids have gone to schools where it was only said once a week, and by high school, they aren’t doing it at all.

I’ve never been to Stanford, so I cannot comment on their diversity, but I know that they are not unusual in being diverse in the Pacific Northwest. You’d have to look pretty hard to find a lily white public school in this area (like you’d WANT to find one anyway). I don’t think saying the pledge or NOT saying the pledge has anything to do with respecting diversity. Being open to learning about other’s backgrounds and cultures is what diversity is about. Calling a school an “international” school doesn’t make it special or extraordinairily diverse. And creating artificial controversy about the Pledge is for Yuppy Puppies who really don’t have anything else better to do with their time. Let them whine. The rest of us are busy raising our kids and trying to make human beings out of them.

D
D
10 years ago

I, personally, am offended by “on one planet.” What about the other planets? “In one universe,” please.

alyn
alyn
10 years ago

BTW, there are certain religions who forbid swearing allegiance to anything/anyone but GOD (7th Day Adventists, for example). Their belief is nothing new, and Adventists didn’t stand for the pledge when I was a kid either. It didn’t single the kids out for ridicule, although they did get a certain amount of sympathy when the other kids found out Adventists didn’t celebrate birthdays or Christmas, either. We just figured those kids’ parents were stupid.

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

I work in a public elementary school in LA and we say the pledge. It’s actually pretty cute, and we end it with a school “cheer” of sorts, all about acting responsibly–and with American sign language hand signs to boot! (talk about diversity) The teachers don’t remember to do it every day–and actually now that I think about it, it really only happens in K and 1st. By 2nd or 3rd, the teachers let it slide by the wayside–and nobody is the wiser, or seems to care. The whole school does do it at Friday assemblies, but that’s it. I think it’s a valuable thing for kids to learn, if only to have a common nostalgic reference when they are older-and for the younger ones it is an opportunity to stretch legs and use loud voices. Nobody cares if kids don’t say the words or opt out, but it is true that everybody has to at least stand.
I say there are far more important things in public education to worry about than this. (for example, getting soap and paper towels in the bathrooms, that’s a good place to start)

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
10 years ago

OMG I cannot fucking believe this, ugh. Why would they change the Pledge of Allegiance? That is wrong is so many ways.

Kristin
Kristin
10 years ago

I am a Christian first, so my allegiance goes to God first. But after that, I pledge allegiance to the flag because it shows respect for the nation that we have that is because of the sacrifices of others. If all these different cultures at that school are enjoying the benefits of this country, they should be pledging to help it be a BETTER, more unified place–not being divisive and making it weaker.

Victoria
10 years ago

Um, I’m Canadian! ;)

Meagan
10 years ago

I stopped saying the pledge of allegiance when I was 10. Honestly, I think I just did it because I liked being different, but if anyone asked (and no one ever DID, no one cared) I would have said that I thought I was too young to give away my allegiance (this is really what I thought – it was about half pretension and half sincerely taking words very seriously). And… it wasn’t a problem. Like you say, I didn’t HAVE to say it, none of the teachers even hassled me about it.

So this fuss to me translates to: 1.) My child is too much of an individual to be subjected to brainwashing and 2.) My child is not enough of an individual to stand up against brainwashing.

“You’ve got to think for yourselves! You are all individuals! ”
“Yes! We are all individuals! “

Anne
Anne
10 years ago

If the words in the Pledge are actually *taught* to kids so they understand what they mean, I can see it being a valuable exercise. As a rote little paragraph, it’s basically useless.

Reminds me of something I saw on the Daily Show last night: Congress “reaffirming” the US motto as “In God We Trust.” The irony was, as John Stewart pointed out, no one was proposing to change the motto. It was just a diversionary, feel-good bill that takes the focus away from the real issues facing our country.

Tara
10 years ago

Against. Not against the pledge or what it means or kids learning it, but against the way it is haphazardly taught. Kids aren’t pledging anything to anything. They are reciting words they have memorized. They don’t understand it, or probably believe what they’re saying. I completely think kids need to learn the pledge of allegiance. But they need to know what a pledge is, what allegiance means, and what the flag stands for, not just say the words.

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

No kid says the pledge thinking that it means we’re all united together. It’s a nice sentiment, and maybe the parents think it, but personally I just remember it being a rote thing we all mumbled through before morning announcements. It does seem a little creepy in hindsight maybe, but I think it’s harmless, if pointless.

The comment above about Americans being a little weird about patriotic singing is funny, as I was listening to two Brits the other day joke about how Americans recite the national anthem before every sporting event, no matter how big or small, and how the only other country we share this practice with is North Korea.

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