US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump travelled to South Dakota on Friday night ahead of July 4th Independence Day celebrations across America. Before speeches and firework displays, the US President and First Lady took to an outdoor stage at Mount Rushmore for the national anthem.
As the famous star spangled banner played out, Mr Trump was pictured saluting with his right-hand over his right eyebrow, instead of over his chest – like his wife Melania.
The blunder caused a huge stir among users on social media.
Andrew Feinberg White House Correspondent for Newsweek, wrote on Twitter: “Can someone explain to @realDonaldTrump that as a civilian, non-veteran, he should have his hand over his heart during the national anthem?”
Another user said: “I’ve never served but I have literally asked every vet and active solider I run into, and they all agree he should not be saluting.”
Donald Trump and Melania Trump observe the US national anthem
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A second user wrote: “Can someone explain to President Trump that as a civilian, non-veteran, he should have his hand over his heart during the national anthem, just like his wife.”
Meanwhile a third angry American said: “Trump embarrasses us in new ways every day.”
The Flag Code states persons present to the national anthem are expected to stand and face the flag, if there is one.
Civilians should stand to attention with right hand over heart, while military personnel in uniform and veterans should salute throughout.
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The Flag Code is enshrined into US law but is it never enforced and there are no punishments for breaching it.
The pre-July 4 holiday event drew 7,500 people, packed into an outdoor amphitheatre.
Mount Rushmore, which depicts US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, has not hosted a fireworks spectacle since 2009 because of environmental concerns but was given the go-ahead by Mr Trump.
Speaking underneath the famed landmark, Mr Trump turned the event into one of his election rallies and criticised the widespread protests across the US, sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Donald Trump caused a stir on social media
In the nationwide unrest protesters in several cities have vandalised the statues of leaders, including Confederate generals who led a rebellion against the US Government during the US civil war.
Protesters in one instance, unsuccessfully tried to pull down a statue of former US President Andrew Jackson outside the White House.
Mr Jackson, known for his populist policies, owned slaves and forced thousands of Native Americans from their homes.
Mr Trump said: “As we meet here tonight there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for.
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“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”
He added: “Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny.
“They would tear down the beliefs, culture and identity that have made America the most vibrant and tolerant society in the history of the Earth.
“Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers, and to our freedom.”