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Place your right hand over your heart

As part of the oath ceremony, assuming you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness, or a paid-up member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you’ll probably stand and sing the national anthem. Since the Constitution doesn’t mandate the separation of church and state (it’s complicated, but if you check out the Supreme Court, you’ll see that the main aims of the Constitution are to avoid the favoring of one religion or a lack of religion by the State), there will be some ceremonial deism in the song. Which means you’ll sing about God, since the US was founded based on principals that there are some inalienable rights given to men by a Supreme Being.


Wikimedia Commons: Author: Mikael Häggström

And you’ll put your right hand over your heart. Looking at the diagram above, you’ll see that the heart in an adult male is:

  • fairly central in the chest
  • above the nipples
  • below the clavicles
  • an empty muscle
  • the way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach. Unless you’re an incubating alien.

So make sure to put your right hand somewhere in that vicinity.


The girl in the pink skirt is most accurate in her hand placement


The Continental Colors

Mullets and Pirates – the Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner.

So it turns out that Betsy Ross wasn’t the only person to stitch together an American Flag, and over the years since 1776, a whole industry has been born out of making new flags as states have been added. Betsy added 13 five-pointed stars to the blue bit (canton) and the 13 stripes, and made a flag. But before she got into that, there was the Continental Colors.

Now, the Union Flag (Union Jack is only if it’s on a ship in modern terms) is the flag of Great Britain. In the days of the founding of the nation of the United States of America, the Irish part of the flag that you see in the modern Union Flag (a red X) was missing. And in 1775-1777, the Grand Union Flag (shown below) was used as the flag of the US. They added the term “Grand” and put 13 stripes for the states on the side. This looks remarkably like the flag adopted in 1707 by the East India Trading Company. Remarkably like it. Really. Really similar. If I saw the two from a telescope flying on two different ships, I would be hard-pressed to discern them. Freaky huh? The EIC is the company in Pirates of the Caribbean, but it really was a huge empire, and the flag really was as near as dammit the same as that of the juvenile US.


The flag before there was a flag – courtesy wikiCommons, author:Haddah

It wasn’t until 1777 that the US adopted a flag, and it has been modified 26 times since then – on average of once every decade or thereabouts. The stars were straight sided, which makes them mullets. I could not make this stuff up. Apparently, the tale of a pencil sketch given by George Washington to Betsy Ross to sew her circular mullet design were by-and-large made up in the 1800s. Yegads, this stuff is priceless. The flag resolution passed on June 14th 1777 was bereft of star orientation, just saying that they were pointy and on the left, while the stripes were on the right.

The Star Spangled Banner – the octave-abusing ditty that new citizens sing at the Oath Ceremony was penned by Francis Scott Key. To be fair, he just stole the tune from a men’s social club in London, and he was an amateur poet seeing the 15 starred, 15 striped flag flying after some British folk had bombed Fort McHenry. That one looks like this:

Star Spangled Banner

Star Spangled Banner

Luckily, the six flags on the moon were all put there after 1960 when the 50th star was added. So there’s no need to go back and fix them up.