Examples: [Collected via e-mail, May 2014]
Origins: Prompted by one (real) photograph that was widely circulated during the 2008 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have consistently been the subjects of multiple items distributed via social media portraying
The photograph shown here was indeed taken on Veterans Day in 2011, but the event which the Obamas were pictured was actually an NCAA basketball game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Michigan State Spartans which was held in the evening on board the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The game was briefly interrupted at sunset to observe the nightly retiring of the colors tradition, during which official White House photographer Pete Souza snapped this photograph of President Obama raising his hand to his heart.
However, this photo does not show First Lady Michelle Obama ignoring standard flag protocol and declining to place her hand over her heart during the ceremony; the image displayed above has been misleadingly cropped to create that false impression. The full photograph shows no one present other than President Obama — not military personnel, not basketball players, not spectators — saluting the flag or placing their hands over their hearts, either. What Pete Souza captured in this image was the brief instant at the very beginning of the ceremony in which President Obama raised his hand to his heart, before anyone else in the frame reacted and did likewise:
An Associated Press photograph taken that same day documents that Michelle Obama does indeed know, and render, the appropriate hand-over-heart gesture of respect for the flag at patriotic functions:
Last updated: 27 May 2014