Before 1942, American children pledged allegiance to the flag with the Bellamy salute. Worried that it might be confused with the Nazi's Roman salute, Congress changed the salute to simply placing a hand over the heart.
The Bellamy salute is the salute described by Francis Bellamy, to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he had authored. During the 1920s and 1930s, Italian fascists and Nazis adopted a salute which had the same form, which resulted in controversy over its use in the United States. It was officially replaced by the customary hand-over-heart method we see today when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.
School children in Southington, Connecticut performing the Bellamy salute in May 1942 [This extremely creepy form of patriotic display was abandoned in favor of the right hand on the heart salute sometime in 1942, when people realized that the Bellamy salute was a lot like the Nazi salute]
Today in American history: September 8, 1892 The Pledge of Allegiance, written by Baptist minister Francis Bellamy, was published in a popular childrens magazine “The Youth’s Companion” in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. It was conceived as a campaign to encourage patriotism and the display of the American flag in public schools. The publication also coincided with the opening of the World’s Columbian Exposi