Did you know that the US Flag Code was passed by congress in 1942? This code lays out how the flag representing our nation should be displayed and respected.
From the armed forces to civilians, we all have ways to show our appreciation of this symbol. If you have a flag past its prime, do you know how to retire a flag?
Keep reading to learn what you need to know about retiring a flag.
How to Retire a Flag
When your flag becomes so damaged that it can longer serve its purpose, it should get retired. The US Flag Code dictates that it get retired in a dignified way. Before retiring your flag, it’s essential to learn how to fold a flag properly.
In each method below, you must fold your flag before retiring it.
Burn Your Flag
Surprisingly, considering all of the controversies around burning flags as a statement of protest, the preferred method to retire a flag is burning it. However, the difference is in the intent and the steps taken before burning the flag.
If your flag is made from polyester or nylon DON’T BURN IT! Nylon and polyester will create smoke with dangerous chemicals. In this case, you should bury it or donate it to an organization that accepts them.
Before you begin, make sure to check your local ordinances on fires. You might have to apply for a permit.
Make sure to clear away any debris before building a medium bonfire. Fold your flag and place it in the fire. While it’s burning, it’s common to take a moment to reflect on the meaning or say the Pledge of Allegiance.
You need to ensure that the flag completely burns and that only ashes are left. After this, you can let the fire die down on its own or put it out manually.
Be sure to practice fire safety during the entire process.
Bury Your Flag
In addition, you can bury your flag in a wooden vessel; however, first, you have to be sure to fold it correctly. You should put your flag in a strong wooden box and bury it a few feet down.
When you place the flag in the ground, take the time to reflect on its meaning.
Donate or Recycle Your Flag
If neither of these options work, you should find a local agency with a flag disposal box. Check your local American Legion. Many of these organizations have Flag Day ceremonies where they burn flags that are no longer serviceable.
In addition, some flag companies will allow you to recycle a flag. They will then take your old flag and use the material to create a new one.
After Retiring a Flag
When you’ve retired your old flag be sure to get a new one to continue displaying it. Flag Day is approaching, and companies like Military Flags – Ultimate Flags offer many flags that will allow you to express your patriotism with a quality flag that fits your style.
Hang a New Flag for Flag Day
Your flag will eventually wear down and need to be replaced. Make sure you learn how to retire a flag correctly, and then grab a new flag to continue displaying your support.
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