There isn't a more beautiful sight than the American flag flying high. And while you may already know how to display the American flag correctly, it's important to know how to properly discard of a tattered or soiled American flag.
When a flag is worn out or no longer a fitting symbol to display, the United States Flag Code says it should be retired in a dignified way, preferably burned and buried, according to .
"While the federal code contains no penalties for misusing the flag, states have their own flag codes and may impose penalties," says the (VFW) website. "The language of the federal code makes clear that the flag is a living symbol."
How to Respectfully Retire an Old American Flag
- Start by folding the flag in a .
- Prepare a fire large enough to burn the flag completely.
- Place the flag in the fire.
- While it burns, witnesses should recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute.
- End the ceremony with a moment of silence before burying the flag's ashes.
Other Ways to Dispose of an Old American Flag
For those with concerns about burning the flag (whether environmental- or safety-related), there are alternatives.
If you don't want to have your own ceremony, but still want to ensure that your flag will be properly retired, you can bring it to a , such as a VFW or American Legion, or others in your community.
You can also . This is a particularly good option for petroleum-based materials like nylon which can produce hazardous gases when burned.
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