State Flag Pledges

Francis Bellamy’s 1892 pledge of allegiance to the US national flag is well known.  Less well known are the pledges US states have created to their own flags, seventeen in all. With the exception of Florida, all eleven states that seceded during the US Civil War have flag pledges — though all of these were adopted […]


The US flag has a sad history of being used to compel patriotism.  One low point occurred in 1940 when the Supreme Court, in the throes of World War II, ruled in Minersville School District v. Gobitis that religious dissenters could be forced to salute the flag in the name of national unity (or, for example, be expelled […]

Zaricor Flag Collection

The Zaricor Flag Collection (ZFC) is the result of decades of flag collecting by wealthy California businessman Ben Zaricor. Its curator, the vexillologist and former flag merchant Jim Ferrigan, writes: The [ZFC], as the noted flag historian, the late Howard Madaus stated, is the largest most important representation of U.S. and American flags in the world. […]

A Vexillological Hapax Legomenon

Back in 2010 linguist Geoffrey Nunberg brought an interesting perspective to bear on the Pledge of Allegiance, which had been in the news when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled, 2 to 1, that “under God” could stay, despite the apparent bridging of church vs. state.  He invokes the linguistic lingo hapax legomemnon, “an […]