MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gaylene from St. Paul asks: Why do we put our hands over our hearts during the national anthem?

It is actually part of United States law. The U.S. Flag Code was adopted in 1923, and it says when the flag is present during the anthem, veterans and members of the Armed Forces should give the military salute.

Everyone else “should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart.”

Though it’s a public law, it’s generally not enforced, and there are no civil penalties for not following the law.

“We just refer to that as a breach of flag etiquette,” American Legion Deputy Director Mike Buss said.

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With all the discussion of this spring’s H5N2 outbreak of avian flu, Lee from Maple Grove wants to know: What do the flu letters and numbers mean?

“H stands for hemagglutinin and N stands for neuraminidase,” Minnesota Department of Health’s Kris Ehresmann said. “They are proteins on the surface of the influenza virus.”

There are 18 types of hemagglutinin, which allows the virus to stick to a cell. And there are nine types of neuraminidase, which play a role in spreading the virus.

“They each have a role in helping the influenza virus be infectious and it’s a way that we can classify influenza virus,” Ehresmann said.

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Mike from Nowthen asks: How is a body of water classified as a lake?

“The lines are subjective and based on what people want or need,” DNR Water Regulations Supervisor Tom Hovey said.

But in 1968, the DNR did issue a bulletin defining lakes for the purpose of inventory. A lake is 10 acres or more, has substantial banks containing water and can be discerned in an aerial photograph.

And when it comes to naming them, what differentiates a lake from a pond?

“Local usage dictates what is called a pond versus a lake,” Assistant State Climatologist Pete Boulay said.

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Heather Brown

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