Monday, February 27, 2012

The Bellamy Salute

I ran across something interesting last week that I thought I would share with you guys.

I've always wondered why we put our hands over our hearts during the playing of the national anthem. I just assumed that this was a tradition from the first days of our country.

That, however, is incorrect.

Francis Bellamy was the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, which he created in 1892. Along with the pledge, he created a gesture known as the Bellamy salute to accompany the saying of the pledge. According to Wikipedia, it was known as "the flag salute." It was widely adopted and used during both the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.

There was only one little problem (that didn't crop up until the 1930s). Here's what it looked like (again, thanks Wikipedia):

This was unfortunately quite similar to the Roman salute, which the Nazis basically ripped off when they created the Nazi salute. Awkwardness ensued.

To clear all this "gesturization" up, Congress passed a law making the now-standard hand-over-heart gesture as the "official" gesture to be used during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.

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