I suppose almost everybody has seen the picture above of then Senator Barack Obama standing respectfully in front of an American Flag, while others on stage have their hands over their hearts. One birther, drdebdrdeb (try typing that three times real fast), made a remark at Birther Report 4 days ago:
… the handlers forgot to teach Barry how to put his hand over his heart when pledging allegiance.
Hand over heart—flag—Pledge of Allegiance. Right? The visual image of the flag and hands over the heart immediately reminds one of the Pledge. Images can be misleading. That photo was taken during the singing of the National Anthem, not the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance (there is an ABC News video with sound). Obama himself said:
My grandfather taught me when I was two. During the Pledge of Allegiance, you put your hand over your heart. During the national anthem, you sing.
I must confess that this was my own view until quite recently, when I learned that the US Code does say that the hand should be over the heart with the participants facing the flag during the Anthem. (I’m not sure what Obama and the rest were looking at in the photo.)
I had occasion this past Veteran’s Day to sing the National Anthem in a large group, and virtually no one, except me, had their hands over their hearts. I daresay most folks thought I had gotten it wrong.
What is interesting is that the US Flag Code gives the president authority to alter customs regarding respect for the Flag.
Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation.
Thanks to Snopes.com for information used in the writing of this article.