But I have to agree with the comment below, I think swearing allegiance to a piece of fabric is odd at best.
Hot dogs, on the other hand...another disgusting American invention. ;)
It is a rallying point.
Patriots see it that way, as do flag burners. Whether the object of praise or scorn, it is the nation that is the object, with the flag being a means of expressing that emotion.
For those who hated standing up, hated reciting it: bully for you - being an American citizen affords you that right. Just keep in mind that an integral part of being a US citizen means recognizing you have responsibilities too. If you find the Pledge that onerous, you probably aren't up to the challenge and should seek citizenship elsewhere.
I encourage you to read Plato's Republic and the analogy within that Socrates uses of a ship captain trying to steer a ship.
“I pledge allegiance to the frog of the United States of America and to the wee public for witches hands one Asian, in the vestibule with little tea and just rice for all.”