Wave the flag

The Explorers Club has granted me the honour of carrying Flag #172 on my Menno Moto journey. This makes the trip an official “Explorers Club Flag Expedition”, which means they endorse the journey/book/film and that if I do anything silly they will get angry with me. Given the description below, they must have loosened the rules a bit, cause I’m not a scientist. So I’ll ride over to the club on my bike while in NYC and pick it up.

The Explorers Club flag represents an impressive history of courage and accomplishment and has been carried on hundreds of expeditions by Club members since 1918. To carry the Club flag is an honor and a privilege. It has flown at both poles, from the highest peaks of the greatest mountain ranges, traveled to the depths of the ocean, to the lunar surface, and outer space. A flag expedition must further the cause of exploration and field science. An early flag featured a four-pointed white star with the name Explorers Club in the middle, all on a red silk field. It is believed that the first member to carry the flag on an expedition was the zoologist Theodoor de Booy, who journeyed to Venezuela about 1918. Today there are 202 numbered flags, each with its own history. Many of the older flags have been retired. A select handful of these retired flags are framed and displayed at headquarters in New York City, including the flags carried by Roy Chapman Andrews, Bob Bartlett, Thor Heyerdahl, Naomi Uemora, and the miniature flag carried by the astronauts onboard Apollo 11. Use of the flag is governed by stringent standards. To obtain permission to carry the flag, a Club member must show that the expedition holds the promise of scientific results. The flag must be exhibited at every suitable opportunity on the expedition, and must be returned to the Club along with a written record of the expedition, called the Flag Report. The Club’s Research Collections is the repository for these unique reports, including the original “Flag Book”—a bound journal of handwritten reports, vintage prints, clippings, and assorted records submitted by the explorers who first carried The Explorers Club flag on expeditions. To the individuals who have carried it, the flag stands as a reminder of the dignity of the Club and of the high standards it expects of its members.

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