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by Abigail Van Buren

National Anthem Deserves Your Hand and Your Heart

DEAR ABBY: I was criticized recently for placing my right hand over my heart while the U.S. flag was flown and "The Star-Spangled Banner" was being sung. I was told that the hand over the heart is for the Pledge of Allegiance only, when the flag is present. Is that true, and what is the proper procedure? -- ST. LOUIS PATRIOT

DEAR PATRIOT: No, it is not true. Whoever criticized you was ignorant of the Flag Code, as amended by the 94th Congress and approved July 7, 1976.

According to the code, "During the rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present ... shall stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. ... When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the manner they would if the flag were displayed there."

And by the way, happy Flag Day to all my readers out there.