The Bellamy salute is the salute described by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931) to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he had authored. During the period when it was used with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was sometimes known as the "flag salute". During the 1920s and 1930s, Italian fascists and Nazis adopted salutes which were similar in form, resulting in controversy over the use of the Bellamy salute in the United States. It was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on 22 December 1942.
The inventor of the saluting gesture was James B. Upham, junior partner and editor of The Youth's Companion. Bellamy recalled Upham, upon reading the pledge, came into the posture of the salute, snapped his heels together, and said "Now up there is the flag; I come to salute; as I say 'I pledge allegiance to my flag,' I stretch out my right hand and keep it raised while I say the stirring words that follow."
The Bellamy salute was first demonstrated on October 12, 1892 according to Bellamy's published instructions for the "National School Celebration of Columbus Day":
At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute -- right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.