I'm not sure about prayer in school. I think since we are not such a Christian country any more, it's probably for the best. Otherwise to preserve equality you would have to have prayers from other religions too, at least you'd have to do different religions on different days, and someone would get offended. The first time a fundamentalist prayed for the conversion of non-believers, that would be a problem. Or someone would freak when it was the pagans' turn.
But patriotic songs should be okay. We are all Americans (not on this board, in the US) and the few students who aren't are still here because their family thinks the US is better than where they were. So you'd think more people would be familiar with the music.
I wonder why we are embarassed to feel patriotic? Is it such a simple emotion in this era of urbane cynicism? Is it because younger people see themselves as part of the world more than part of a specific country? Is the line too fine between patriotism and cliche or patriotism and imperialism (entitlement, colonialism, manifest destiny)? I would like to think we are modest, that we have become aware how much influence we have and are working to be inconspicuous, but I don't think that's accurate. I notice that people seem to mock sentimentality and I wonder if this is part of the same attitude.
Actually, I knew that.
My parents were big folk music people so I grew up listening to that stuff. It has breatly affected both my politics and my taste in music. Darn parents! They didn't even know they were doing that! lol I'm embarassed that I couldn't come up with Woodie Guthrie's name on my own, though. I was like "I KNEW that!" It just seems that kids only learn the first 3 verses.