Ever since I discovered the American Pledge Of Allegiance I have been bothered by the idea of very young kids daily oathing themselves to their flag, when they are too young to understand what they are doing. In recent years I have seen The Pledge, in my view, as more of a brain washing mechanism. The Whitest Kids U' Know, a show on IFC, demonstrates this.
In 1892 when The Pledge was first used in schools it was accompanied with a Bellamy Salute named after the writer of The Pledge. Most people seeing this today would describe it as a Nazi Salute. And so while at war with Germany the salute for The Pledge was changed to a hand over heart gesture. I find this interesting because the parallels of blind nationalism is still there, even with the adapted salute.
The pledge was originally designed to promote national equality for immigrants so everybody saying The Pledge could be seen as American. However I don't see The Pledge as symbolizing national pride, but an attempt to hold onto national pride in an age where America is a declining superpower.