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"When it comes to the flag as a symbol, a public opinion poll conducted by the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness suggests that young people see the flag less as a symbol to be proud of and more as a symbol of what is wrong with the country," writes Jane Lo.

Why are kids today less patriotic?

Lo is an assistant professor of education at Florida State University.

The Conversation, which publishes online pieces by academics and researchers, answers questions from young people at CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com.

Kim. D., a 17-year old from Goochland, VA asked: Why are younger people not really patriotic like me? Why do kids these days not realize why they stand for the flag or the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem?

The first bell of the day rings at a local school, and a voice blares over the intercom, asking students to rise from their seats and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

This is a familiar practice to students across the United States, since most states currently require schools to recite the pledge at the beginning of each day. And yet, some students opt out of the ritual, choosing instead to remain seated, or stand but stay silent.

Are these students less patriotic than those who stand willingly and proudly to recite the pledge? As someone who studies how young people engage with politics, I think the answer may be a bit more complex than you think.

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