From the beginning of this country's history, Americans have been taught to respect our flag. "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning," according to the United States Code. If you have a flag in need of disposal, contact local groups for assistance to accomplish this with a show of respect for “Old Glory."
American Legion posts across the country collect worn flags from their communities throughout the year. At sunrise on Flag Day, June 14, members of a post will conduct a Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and some chapters of the Marine Corps League provide similar flag disposal services. Or check with a Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary or other active veterans' group in your area.
Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops accept old flags from the community and burn them as part of a solemn, dignified Flag Retirement Ceremony. If the scouts don’t hold such ceremonies, they may run collection drives and channel the flags to groups that dispose of them.
Flag Disposal Services
Flag Keepers charges modest disposal fees for its services: $5 for flags up to 6 feet by 10 feet and $10 for larger flags. The group waives handling fees and mail costs for certain types of flags and when funds are an issue for a customer. USA Flag Supply reduces the price of a new flag by 10 percent when you send it the old one with your order. The company disposes of the flags according to the United States Flag Code at the grave of Sarah Hinson, one of the founders of Flag Day. OldWornFlag.com offers, at no charge, “the respectful disposal of flags that should no longer be displayed," according to the website.
Three out of four American flags sold in the U.S. today are nylon. Because burning nylon produces toxic cyanide fumes, some municipalities have burning restrictions that may affect the availability of flag disposal services. Contact your town or city government office or your local fire department for help in locating a group that disposes of flags properly.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars: Flag Education
- Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War National Headquarters: The Dignified Flag Disposal Ceremony
- "Stars and Stripes Forever”; Richard H. Schneider; 2003
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