When I went through "A" School in the Navy to learn to work on Aircraft they taught us to bend both sides and then to bend the ends back into the shaft so you ended up with it looking something like a bow tie. The reason to bend it back into the shaft was for safety so the end would not cut you.
thom I agree with everyone else there is no such thing as a silly question. The US Navy thought enough about it to give us lessons on working with cotter pins so... Thanks for asking.