The Flag Salute
American school children are required to salute the American flag each day before the lessons start. They do this by delivering a speech of loyalty in unison, called "The Pledge of Allegiance". Other organizations in the United States (both children and adults) still perform this tradition before starting their day or meeting.
As a teenager in the 1950s Zappa refused to salute the flag with the other children. He was punished several times because of this. In some of his lyrics he targeted this activity, which he considered to be pointless brainwashing of people.
"I would refuse to salute the flag; I would wear weird things to school; I would get in trouble all the time, and get thrown out of school. I did things that were pretty notorious," Zappa told Dan Forte.
- "(...) Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget bout the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute." (Frank Zappa in the liner notes of Hungry Freaks Daddy)
- How Pigs' Music Works and Just One More Time: "They worship that smoke. They salute it every day." (...) "That's the basis of all their nationalism. If they can't salute the smoke every morning when they get up."
- The Pigs' Music: "If we could either move the smoke or if we turn the cold light on it and shrink it so they can't even salute it."