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.
Bob Greene Ignores the Socialist Origins of the Pledge of Allegiance
In 1892 Francis Bellamy composed what eventually came to be the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America. It usually began the day for school children, as they recited the Pledge with their hand over their hearts and facing the Stars and Strip
Francis Bellamy, a socialist Baptist minister wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. Who Knew? "CNN Bob Greene Ignores the Socialist Origins of the Pledge of Allegiance" Huffington Post 12/24/13. A very interesting article.