Brian Fields mentioned this on Facebook the other day and I learned something new. I had no idea that many states have their own pledges of allegiance to be recited when saluting their state flag. 17 of them, in fact, including my home state of Michigan. Ours is one of the less obnoxious ones:
Michigan (1972): “I pledge allegiance to the flag of Michigan, and to the state for which it stands, two beautiful peninsulas united by a bridge of steel, where equal opportunity and justice to all is our ideal.”
Others demand that citizens pledge their lives to their state flags:
Whoa! Pledging one’s allegiance and loyalty to an artificially demarcated territory within the U.S. is a tad much already. But pledging one’s life to the state and the state flag counts as fundamentally creepy. Sadly, the Alabama leaders who drafted that pledge probably didn’t do so tongue-in-cheek, as they should have done given the state’s history 150 years back. Rather they did it with deadly seriousness.
Alabamans aren’t alone. Tennesseans had previously done the same: “Flag of Tennessee, I salute thee. To thee I pledge my allegiance with my affection, my service and my life.”
Not much left for the family once those three are surrendered.
The Tennessee pledge was adopted in 1986 without repealing or otherwise superseding the gentler flag pledge that the state had adopted a mere five years previously: “Three white stars on a field of blue. God keep them strong and ever true. It is with pride and love that we salute the Flag of Tennessee.”
Check out the rest of the state flag pledges’ weird grammar, punctuation and capitalization:
Georgia (1935): “I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands; Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.”
Texas: (1933, 1965; and 2007 when “under God” was added): “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”
Arkansas (1953): “I Salute the Arkansas Flag With Its Diamond and Stars. We Pledge Our Loyalty to Thee.”
The idea of pledging allegiance to a country — worse, to a country’s flag is one that I find rather appalling. It’s even worse at the state level.