Is Allan Bartlett Really Irvine’s Flag Etiquette Expert?


Irvine Finance Commissioner Allan Bartlett

Simply put, no.

But Mr. Bartlett, a Libertarian blogger and Irvine Finance Commissioner, posted an interesting item on his Facebook page at the end of June concerning a matter of the playing of the National Anthem prior to the last Irvine City Council meeting in June.
Bartlett wrote, “I guess it’s too much to expect Larry Agran and Beth Krom to show a little respect during the playing of the National Anthem before the start of the council meeting.” And there was Agram and Krom, standing at attention, while Mayor Steven Choi, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway and Council member Christina Shea all had their right hands over their hearts as the Anthem was played.

Respect indeed.


Bartlett’s screed reminded me of the flap over presidential candidate Barack Obama not covering his heart with his hand in 2007.

Etiquette towards our flag during the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem have evolved over many years. It wasn’t until 1998, for example, when it became protocol to place one’s right hand over the heart for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. In 2008, non-uniformed military could salute. When I was a wee lad, we were taught standing at attention and facing the flag was enough. And it is:

United States Code, 36 U.S.C. § 301, states that during a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed. Recently enacted law in 2008 allows military veterans to salute out of uniform, as well.[15][16]

However, this statutory suggestion does not have any penalty associated with violations. 36 U.S.C. § 301 Moreover, generations of students who were introduced to flag etiquette prior to its enactment in 1998 were taught that the hand over the heart gesture was exclusively for the Pledge of Allegiance which has had the statutory requirement for much longer.(4 U.S.C. § 4)[citation needed] This behavioral requirement for the national anthem is subject to the same First Amendment controversies that surround the Pledge.[17] For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to stand for or sing the national anthem.[18][19][20].

Don’t believe me; go to any Angels game and start counting people who simply stand for the National Anthem; getting people to remove their caps is hard enough.

What Bartlett failed to mention is, in reality, everyone on the Dais, from the city council members to staff, technically showed did not follow proper protocol to the flag during the playing of the National Anthem because the only flag in city council chambers is behind the council (there’s another for color guard presentations but that was not on display for the meeting in question). No one on the dais faced the flag during the playing of the National Anthem as they were all facing the pianist who did a terrific arrangement. That’s only acceptable if there is no flag present. There was. Everyone turned to face the Flag for the Pledge of Allegiance, but did not do so for the National Anthem.

Mr. Bartlett himself likely violated etiquette for the National Anthem by NOT facing the flag when he sits on the dais for Irvine Finance Commission meetings.

Now is this a big deal? Not really. But the comment by Bartlett is designed to call into question the patriotism of Agran and Krom and perhaps give Republicans fodder for some campaign mailer. I mean it’s not like Agran or Krom posed with a Photoshopped image of a Democratic Speaker of the House as a Nazi SS officer in a public event or wearing another Photoshopped image of that Speaker at Stalin. Would that be considered unpatriotic or just in bad taste?

Choi with anti-Pelosi sign, (credit the

Choi with anti-Pelosi sign, (credit the

Choi with Irvine City Council Badge (credit

Choi with Irvine City Council Badge (credit


I’ll remind Mr. Bartlett that every time he faces the flag to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, that he is reciting an oath to a flag written by socialist minister Francis Bellamy (who happened to be from my hometown in Upstate New York). In fact, as a conservative who hates change, Mr. Bartlett ought to leave the “Under God” part out of the Pledge since it was added by Congress in the 1950s as part of campaign against communism.
In fact, I’d like to see Mr. Bartlett revert to reciting the Pledge using the “Bellamy Salute.”

What’s that?

The original Bellamy salute, first described in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who authored the original Pledge, began with a military salute, and after reciting the words “to the flag,” the arm was extended toward the flag.

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.

Shortly thereafter, the pledge was begun with the right hand over the heart, and after reciting “to the Flag,” the arm was extended toward the Flag, palm-down.

Pledge-salute-Bellamy-300x235But with three Jewish members on the city council, I doubt the conservative approach is the way to go here. The point is, things change. Simply standing at attention for the National Anthem is completely respectful.

Perhaps in his next Finance Commission meeting, Mr. Bartlett can recommend the acquisition of a new flag to be placed in city council chambers so anyone on the Dais can face the flag to perform their patriotic duties of standing for the Pledge and the National Anthem. Perhaps Bartlett can be given a new assignment by Mayor Choi: to make sure every member of the city council is wearing their flag pins before they participate in the act of actually governing.

  17 comments for “Is Allan Bartlett Really Irvine’s Flag Etiquette Expert?

  1. Aniston
    July 9, 2013 at 10:08 am


  2. Ltpar
    July 9, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Hey Dan, boring stuff you are writing about today, don’t you have better gossip than that to stimulate the inquiring minds who want to know? On the flag thing, I was at that Council meeting and noticed that Larry and Beth were not following standard protocal while the National Anthem was being played. Having known Larry for many years, I just chalked it up to a lapse of thought as to what was going on around him and not to any lack of patriotism for his country. Unlike the guy sitting in the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Larry Agran loves his country and I believed served it while in the U.S. Army in earlier years. Barry Soetoro on the other hand, detests America, it’s history, what it stands for and wants to remake us in his own image. Bottom line is that while I have criticized Larry for many of his actions over the years, patriotism toward his country is not one of those things.

  3. July 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Pat – you nuked the fridge with the comment that President Obama detests America. The guy is the American Dream. A self made man who studied hard, got into colleges that matter and made the most of his opportunities.

    As a child of the 60sm, standing at attention for the National Anthem is perfectly fine.

  4. Allan Bartlett
    July 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Must be another slow news day to be pulling stuff off my Facebook wall from two weeks ago. Comical.

  5. Ltpar
    July 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    And you know all that about the “Great Pretender” how? He is what they call a “ghost” in intelligence circles. They spent a couple of million dollars sealing up his entire life from birth certificate , college transcripts to a fake Social Security Number previously held by a person who is deceased. Obama has never earned anything in his life except the coveted P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute” award. One of these days when history finally reveals the truth about the Great Pretender” you liberals will wonder how you could have been so ignorant? In the real world big picture, Obama is just another in a long line of pawns from both political parties doing the bidding of the behind the scenes power elite who want to destroy the country and install themselves as the New World Order. Doubt that, check out the players on the Tri-Lateral Commission, Bilderberg Group and the Council on Foreign Relations. The good news is, we can’t blame Larry and the Agranistas for this one.

  6. Daniel Ruth
    July 10, 2013 at 4:26 am

    No one should chant the Pledge of Allegiance because it was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (see the new book “Pledge of Allegiance + Swastika Secrets” by the author Ian Tinny and Dr. Rex Curry). The pledge was written by a socialist to promote socialism and it influenced German socialists and other socialists worldwide. Think of Francis Bellamy as America’s Leni Riefenstahl. Although he was arguably more successful than she was. The pledge was written by a socialist to promote socialism and it influenced German socialists and other socialists worldwide. The Nazi salute resulted because the Pledge originally began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag. Due to government schools (socialist schools) Americans are ignorant of the Pledge’s putrid past.

  7. junior
    July 10, 2013 at 6:47 am

    I stand at attention hat removed for the National Anthem – and reserve hand over heart for the Pledge of Allegiance.

  8. Dan Chmielewski
    July 10, 2013 at 7:21 am
    The social security number thing debunked.
    Photos of the official Sate of Hawaii birth certificate; tell me Pat, do you have you have your original document somewhere?

    Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago; let’s apply your logic. Steven Choi “taught” part-time at UCI…does this mean he never earned anything in his life? Obama has authored two books that were NY Times best sellers.

    The Bilderberg Group was founded in 1954 – 7 years before Obama was born. One World Order? Jeez Pat, you’ve fallen off the deep end,. Apply the tin foil to your head tighter.

    That sucker born every minute — looks like you for believing this easily debunked malarkey.

  9. Dan Chmielewski
    July 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

    You couldn’t be more incorrect about the origins of the Bellamy salute if you tried; it was originally a Roman salute and dates to Caesar; and while Bellamy was a socialist, he wrote the pledge to promote patriotism and national pride. His emphasis was the word “indivisible” when it came to America resolve.

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    July 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Must have been a weak excuse to slam Larry and Beth; saw your tweet. We’re not obsessed with you but you ARE an appointed city office so when you say dumb stuff, you’ll be called out on it. Was it CREEPY is your obsession with vipers – I’ll leave it to readers if we’re talking about snakes or Republicans.

  11. henry lipton
    July 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Really? Im surprised and kind of embarrassed that you took time out of your day to write about this non issue. You guys need to work some things out and stop with the childish personal bickering.

  12. junior
    July 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Bellamy was a vehement racist type of socialist.

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    July 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    and yet we reciter Bellamy’s words with an additional “Under God” at all manner of public functions. I’m delighted this post is making people examine the life of Francis Bellamy; but please point out racism in the pledge.

  14. Dan Chmielewski
    July 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Really Henry, I’m embarrassed Allan Bartlett chose to make this an issue; he’s an appointed city official who should take greater care in what he says

  15. junior
    July 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    I think it is perfect – I love it.

  16. July 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I never say “under God” out of respect for the author. I don’t believe God elevates the status of one nation over all others. God has no party affiliation.

  17. junior
    July 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    “I never say “under God” out of respect for the (vehemently racist) author.” Yeah – he deserves a lot of respect Dan.

    “I don’t believe God elevates the status of one nation over all others.” The Pledge does not indicate in any manner that God elevates the USA over other nations. Show me where it does.

    “God has no party affiliation.” Where does the Pledge indicate THAT Dan??

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