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Please indulge me with my question as I play devil's advocate: I have a question regarding unserviceable US Flags. The question is, it acceptable to cut the white stars from ...
  1. #1
    navystandard Guest

    Default Recycling Unserviceable US Flags?

    Please indulge me with my question as I play devil's advocate:

    I have a question regarding unserviceable US Flags. The question is, it acceptable to cut the white stars from the flag and distribute them to deployed service members as a reminder they are not forgotten?

    If you feel it is appropriate, why?

    If you think it's a bad idea, why?

    Without your having to go into what the Flag Code says, I understand the suggested way to properly destroy an unserviceable flag. Anybody have an opinion?

    (I am a receipient of a star, not a distributor)

    Thanks!

    Sailor in Baghdad

  2. #2
    Peter Ansoff is offline USA Flag Site Admin
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    Annandale, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Recycling Unserviceable US Flags?

    First of all, welcome aboard! Honored to have you with us.

    it acceptable to cut the white stars from the flag and distribute them to deployed service members as a reminder they are not forgotten?

    The custom of cutting stars and other pieces out of a flag, and giving them out as souvenirs, was once quite common. A very famous example is the "Star Spangled Banner" that flew over Fort McHenry in 1815. Several pieces were cut out of the flag after the battle, and given to participants and others. As part of the restoration of the flag, the Smithsonian Insititution has located and gathered some of the cut-out pieces. (They will be displayed separately, not sewn back into the flag).

    Another well-known example is the so-called "Green Mountain Boys" flag that is said to have been carried by the New Hampshire troops at the battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War. (I say "so called" because there is an obvious disconnect in the legend -- the "Green Mountain Boys" were not from New Hampshire!) Originally, the flag had a union of stars and a green field. Now, it consists of the union only with a very small fringe of green cloth. The story is that General John Stark cut up the rest and gave pieces out to his men after the battle.

    As to whether it's appropriate to do this now, I guess that's kind of in the eye of the beholder. Obviously, someone thought it was, and probably did it with the best of intentions. My personal take is that there are much better and more practical ways to show our support for our troops in harms way.

    Peter Ansoff
    (ex-USN)

  3. #3
    USMC_Slovyan is offline Junior Member
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    1

    Default Re: Recycling Unserviceable US Flags?

    I have just recieved one from one of my Staff Sergeants who got it threw mail. It has a little letter in it stating, "I am part of an American flag which can no longer fly due to sun and wind damage. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten."

    United States Code Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, Point K states "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."

    I take it as a sign of disrespect because I believe by cutting up the United States Flag, in which I serve the United States of America, is not a dignified way to show respect to our troops serving oversea's. Cutting up the United States Flag is a sign of disgracing our Forefather's for the sweat, tears, and blood they shed to build this nation up, as it is today.

    As me being a Marine, one thing comes to my mind when I recieved and researched this post. "Good Initiative, but Bad Judgement."

    Semper Fidelis

  4. #4
    NAVA1974 is offline Senior Member
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    Columbia Maryland, native to Massachusetts.
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    Default Re: Recycling Unserviceable US Flags?

    I, too, have a problem with dismembering worn out flags and sending stars or other parts to war fighters or to anyone else, for that matter. As USMC Slovyan notes, the Flag Code prescribes the proper procedure for disposing of worn flags. By all means, correspond with those who are serving our country especially in hot-war areas like Iraq and Afghanistan, but don't cut up flags to send them.

    Peter Ansoff mentioned the use of some historic flag pieces as souvenirs. Recall, too, that during the US Civil War some units would cut their flag to pieces and distribute them to members in order to avoid surrenduring their colors when captured. THAT is an honored end to a flag, and honors to those who bravely fought to defend it.

    Nick

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