When I was four years old - my family moved to the USA so that my Dad could do his PhD at Cornell University. I started school at North Street Elementary School in Geneva, NY and every day from Kindergarten on we would recite the 'Pledge of Allegiance' with our hands over our hearts and facing the American flag. At the time, I didn't understand what it meant and just wanted to be like everyone else so did it. But now, looking back, I'm not sure it was appropriate for me to do it as a New Zealander.
As a reward for good behaviour you got to wear a badge that said 'Citizen of the Day' which was amusing since I was not an American citizen (I was a reasonably good child - so got the award more than once - there's picture proof at Mum and Dad's).
We came back to New Zealand at the end of 1995 and I have done the rest of my schooling in New Zealand. In fact, I'm now a Primary School teacher. I am proud to be a New Zealander but I don't understand the intense Patriotic nature that many Americans seem to have. Fair enough being proud of where you come from - but some nations take it to extremes. I remember the sheer number of houses that had American flags out front. You just don't see that here (except when the All Blacks are playing - and then it's just a silver fern). We only sing the National Anthem once a week at school assemblies or if there's an international sporting match (there may well be other occasions but that's all I can think of).
I've started thinking of this again after reading this article by Anne Wheaton. In it, she talks about how her son sat down when the Pledge of Allegiance was recited in class for a few weeks as a form of protest as he didn't agree with parts of it. His teacher had a bit of a hissy fit about it by the sounds of things.
Anyways, that's my little rant about...patriotism? And pointing out differences. It is by no means meant to be an insult to any country. It is just one girl's interpretation on things. And it's a bit rambly :P