Donald wrote:If you look at old pictures of parades, you will see, as the Stars and Stripes passed by, people giving what looks like the Nazi salute. Apparently that was what you were supposed to do back then to honor the flag. When the Nazi salute became a big deal, our flag etiquette changed to removing hats and putting hands over heart.
It just is another example of the same gesture having multiple meanings.
I've always thought the right wing was more into these sorts of rituals, imbuing them with meaning beyond reason. Gangs and fraternities, I guess, do this, too, but they are as big of losers as the righties, as far as I'm concerned. I guess you can see racism there, or you can just see some kids acting dumb. In the absence of any information that this was some righty coven, I'd bet it's just kids acting dumb.
Sometime during the Eisenhower administration, the country changed the ceremonial gestures that went with the Pledge of Allegiance. The new version was what we use now: the citizen puts their right hand over wherever they imagine their heart to be, and leaves it there during the entire pledge. I don't remember what year it was changed (I was in early grade school, so say 1954? Go ahead and look it up), but the older version started with the hand-on-heart during "I pledge allegiance..." and then when you got to "to the flag" you extended your right arm toward the flag and held it there during the remainder of the pledge, palm open and facing to your left.
I do not remember being told why they changed it, but it could very well have been because it looked like a Nazi salute and the country still had a clear idea of who the Nazis were. Maybe it was considered tasteless to have a flag salute that looked so much like theirs. Nobody gave us little kids that reasoning, though. They just told us we were doing it a new way now. Another change that happened around the same time (1950s) was putting "in god we trust" on our money. In the 50s, we made some changes you could never pass today.
I'm not looking at the pictures you refer to, but the arm-extended salute by an American was not uncommon sixty or seventy years ago and it didn't automatically designate the saluter as a Nazi. Donald is right in that.
I'm not sure I can write Baraboo off to kids acting dumb, though. They got that idea from somewhere and they thought it was cool. I write it off to internet sites that appeal to young white males, and perhaps to families where right-wing politics and an attitude are standard. For both reasons, I don't take it as harmless foolishness. It just takes one young guy with a chip on his shoulder, guns in the house or car/truck, and some bad influences to commit the next mass shooting.