Proper flag disposal

Discussion in 'American Flag Disposal' started by EmailPoster, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. EmailPoster

    EmailPoster New Member

    Question about proper flag disposal...
     
  2. jproffitt10

    jproffitt10 Guest

    There are several ways in which you may give your American flag the proper retirement without showing disgrace to this great country. If you would like to dispose of the flag yourself then the most fitting way is to hold your own, private ceremony. The U.S. Flag Code states, "The flag, when it is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferable by burning." After your flag has been burned, the ashes should be buried. If you cannot burn and bury the flag yourself, then there are several organizations that will retire your flag in a proper and respectful ceremony. Among them are:

    VFW @ vfw.org
    American Legion @ legion.org
    Boy Scouts of America @ scouting.org
    Girl Scouts of America @ girlscouts.org
    Marine Corps League @ mcleague.com

    Contact one of the organizations obove and they will be able to direct you to a local post, troop or location near you.
     
  3. LisaM

    LisaM Guest

    :) Hi,
    In response to your question about properly disposing of an American Flag,
    I have this to offer...

    In conformance with rules and customs established by Congress in 1942 simply say that when a flag is in poor condition it should be destroyed by burning it. It is kind of a ceremony in itself, a type of cremation.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. I think that flags should Only be disposed of [in whatever shape]only never to fall in Enemy hands !!! If one really loves his country's flag,he'll never dispose of it[it doesn't mean he has to display it when in bad shape,he can always get a new one],but he will keep it in a special box in a special place till the last thread is eaten up and no more exists all by itself,and even if only a thread remains ,he can "worship" it as a relic if he so desires. Meaning:eek:ne never gets rid of something just because it became old or useless,IF HE REALLY LOVES IT. And what love is greater than one's love for his country ?
     
  5. CultureGeek

    CultureGeek New Member

    Well, that's an interesting perspective. Wonder what Mark Twain would've had to say about that.

    Although the official flag says you can't do that, the Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that you have a right to violate the Flag Code. Just as a protester has the right to burn a perfectly good flag, you have the right to keep your old and tattered flag in a special box and worship the last thread as a relic.

    P.S. If you're not sure whether or not your message has showed up and you think it's stuck, you can copy it to a text file so you won't lose it if it didn't go through and then hit refresh to see if it's showed up before you press "post" again. Hope this helps.
     
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    one never gets rid of something just because it became old or useless,IF HE REALLY LOVES IT. And what love is greater than one's love for his country ?

    But the flag is not your country -- it is a symbol of your country. If you discard it and replace it with another one, the new one is just as much a symbol of your country as the old one. The flag itself is just a piece of colored cloth. We treat it respectfully because of what it represents, not because it is some sort of magic relic from a Harry Potter story.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong with keeping an old flag if you want to. This is especially true if the flag has historic or personal associations. There are also many people who collect historic flags.

    Although the official flag
    Code:
    [I] says you can't do that[/I]
     
    That's a bit of a stretch. What the flag code says is: "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." The obvious intent was that one shouldn't just throw a used flag in the dumpster. Preserving it in a "special place," is not a violation of the code. Neither is displaying it on the wall at home or in a museum, as long as it's done in a dignified way. 
     
    [I]Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that you have a right to violate the Flag Code.[/I]
     
    The 1989 ruling had nothing to do with the Flag Code per se. What it said was that flag desecration is a form of political speech that is protected under the First Amendment, and that federal and state laws against flag desecration are therefore unconstitutional. The ruling did not affect the status of the Flag Code, which has always been (mostly) a set of voluntary guidelines.
     
    [FONT=Verdana]There's a subtlety to the 1989 ruling that most commentators seem to miss. It did not say that it's unconstitutional to ban flag burning, but that it's unconstitutional to ban flag burning [I]as a form of political expression[/I]. In other words, either flag burning is legal, or it's not -- you can't discriminate based on the burner's motivations.[/FONT]
     
    Peter Ansoff
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
  7. madlw

    madlw Guest

    Its a real shame that almost everybody i know does'nt respect the flag we have a grocery store in Beamsville and the other day i was looking at the canada flag and it was all colour burnt and faded and it was even torn!

    People should really try to respect the flags they fly not just there country.
     
  8. yankeedoodle

    yankeedoodle Guest

    Hello, friends. I work for the EPA and just had a call from an American Legion member in Arizona regarding disposal of the flag. The local Fire Dept. there won't let him burn the flags they need to get rid of because they're made of synthetic material. That is some information you might want to add to your site. Peace, brothers.
     
  9. Determined Guardian

    Determined Guardian New Member

    My idea is that they should have never allowed people to burn the flag.... that was a terrible Idea.. see how many around the Globe get their Kicks from burning the American Flag in effigy.
    The founding fathers should have made it a rule to only bury the flag... ceremony notwithstanding... as the proper form of disposal. Albeit, it would signify that the natural effects of nature will cause it to deteriorate. But alas, I have my answer , burn first , and bury the ashes afterwards. OK. thanks for this website. and God Bless Google.... I mean , well you know.:D
     
  10. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Unfortunately nylon (the most common fabric for sewn USA flags) is not biodegradable, so burying the flag isnt an option unless you have a wool, cotton, or silk flag. Perhaps recycling the fabric of the flag could be seen as a patriotic duty these days?

    Nick
     
  11. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    For what it's worth, Army regulations state that "shredding" is a proper way to dispose of a worn flag.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  12. dianaon

    dianaon New Member

    I am a Boy Scoutmaster x only a few years. But to my best knowledge, through this org. , and in speaking with retired servicemen is the proper way to burn the tattered flag is:
    1. Cut and hold all red stripes (symbolizing blood shed for USA)
    2. Cut all white stripes, abd hold seperately (symbol fo purity)
    3. Keep the whole sqare of stars in one piece (unity of the nation)
    A ceremonial fire should be built (yes, outside for plastics, noncotton flags), and as the pieces are put in one speaks of their symbols.
    4. Nothing is then added to the fire- no wood, (no cooking marshmellows over it), so make sure it is good enough to totally burn all your flags.
    5. The next day, the ashes are removed and buried.
    6. The metal rivets may be buried also, or given as a token to a retired American serviceman

    The service should be held by US veterans, or related groups- Coast Guard, West Point students, Boy, Girl scouts.

    Am I wrong? I'm reading otherwise.
     
  13. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hi, Dianaon, welcome to the forum!

    First of all, here's what the civilian flag code says about flag disposal: "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." The regulations followed by the armed forces are similar. For example, the applicable US Army regulation says: "When a flag is no longer suitable for display, it will not be cast aside or used in any way that may be viewed as disrespectful. If not preserved as [a relic], it will be destroyed privately, preferably by burning, shredding or by some other method that does not show irreverence or disrespect to the flag."

    None of the current regulations rules or regulations say anything about cutting the flag apart. In fact, the original version of the flag code that was adopted back in 1923 said specificially: "[the flag] should be destroyed as a whole, privately, preferably by burning or by some other method in harmony with the reverence and respect that we owe to the emblem representing our country."

    Again, none of these authorities say anything about cutting the flag apart before destroying it. Individual organizations can, of course, make up their own rules, but they are not based on anything official.​

    Personally, I don't think that the idea of cutting the flag apart is very respectful -- it seems more like some kind of pagan ritual than anything patriotic. That's just my opinion, however.​

    Best regards,​

    Peter Ansoff​
     
  14. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet New Member

    My son asked me a question that I could not answer about the flag. Why would you have to cut the flag in pieces before you burn it?
    Thanks for looking
     
  15. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Disabled Vet! Glad to have you with us.

    Your son's question is well taken. Actually, you don't have to cut up the flag before disposing of it. Individual organizations may make up their own rituals for flag disposal, but there's nothing in the flag code or military regs that supports them. See my 9/20/09 post, above, for detailed references.

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
     
  16. Roger

    Roger New Member

    I was thinking of some very dignified (and cool) helmet bags for my old synthetic flag?
     
  17. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Do you mean turning the worn flags into bags and using them to store your helmet? If so, it is my opinion that doing so is disrespectful of the flag. The flag code specifically prohibits such re-use when it says the flag should be destroyed when no longer serviceable. This is in contrast with the (former?) British practice of turning old flags into cleaning rags.

    Nick
     
  18. Roger

    Roger New Member

    The flag is being destroyed! It is getting recycled into helmet bags. IMO a very dignified end to a usefull life as a flag! I haven't done it yet as my g-friend also is of your mind set. But if we truely think about the proper disposal of a synthetic flag. Not pushing it off on someone else. Not infecting the environment. A true interpretation of an honorable disposal. It seems to me reuse fits the bill. Its life as a flag will stop the day I cut it up and it will begin a new life as a couple of very usefull and dignified bags for a couple of helmets, which I get a lot of enjoyment out of.
     
  19. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Re: Proper flag disposal - Opinions wanted!

    Roger:

    You stated "Its life as a flag will stop the day I cut it up.."

    Ok, I think you have a valid pont. :eek:

    I still disagree,but let's see what the rest of the forum members say!:D

    Nick
     
  20. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    I tend to agree with Nick. The sense of the flag code is clearly that a worn-out flag should be destroyed, not cut up and re-used for something else. I think that this was the intent behind the prohibition on using flags as clothing, for example. The original 1923 language of the flag code said that the flag should be destroyed "as a whole," and military regs still say that. Roger's argument that the flag ceases to be a flag when you cut it up strikes me as overly legalistic.

    Not infecting the environment. A true interpretation of an honorable disposal. It seems to me reuse fits the bill. . . . it will begin a new life as a couple of very usefull and dignified bags for a couple of helmets, which I get a lot of enjoyment out of.

    The fact that it's useful, environmentally friendly, etc., is beside the point. The flag is a symbol of the nation and should be treated with dignity. Cutting it up and using the pieces as a storage bag would not, I think, strike most people as being very dignified. As Justice Holmes said in the quote down there at the bottom, perception is the real issue.

    Having said all that, there is an interesting philosophical issue here. Supposing that I were to manufacture made-for-the purpose helmet bags that were decorated with a stars and stripes motif. One could argue that these were never flags in the first place, and that they're in the same category as Uncle Sam's suit, for example. Again, it comes down to perception -- would the average observer see my bags as mutilated flags, or not?

    Peter Ansoff
     

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