Before 1942, American children pledged allegiance to the flag with the Bellamy Salute so named after Francis Bellamy who wrote the pledge of allegiance in 1892. Worried that it might be confused with the Nazi's Roman salute, Congress changed the salute to simply placing a hand over the heart.
The pledge of our grandparents. "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. In World War II, the salute too much resembled the Nazi salute, so it was changed to keep the right hand over the heart throughout."
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who was a Baptist minister. The original "Pledge of Allegiance" was published in the September 8 issue of the popular children's magazine The Youth's Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds.