Removing stars from retired flags?

Discussion in 'American Flag Disposal' started by Lake Lady, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Lake Lady

    Lake Lady New Member

    I recently became aware that a service organization in my area is providing stars that have been cut from retired American flags to veterans and deployed troops. I’ve been assured that the flags were disassembled with respect before the stars were removed from the blue field. By disassembling the flag it is no longer considered “a flag” when the stars are removed, and therefore this practice is not desecrating a flag. Please advise. :confused:
     
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The United States Flag Code says that 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.

    Cutting a flag to pieces is not dignified. And the argument you quoted " By disassembling the flag it is no longer considered “a flagâ€￾ when the stars are removed, and therefore this practice is not desecrating a flag" is, in my opinion, bogus. Just imagine applying the same logic to a human.

    The US flag has been described as a "living thing" and therefore it ought to be treated as such.
     
  3. Adam Cappps

    Adam Cappps New Member

    My family has owned a Flag Manufacturing company located in south eastern Virginia since 1960 or so. I was always told, and repeat it to any one who asks that removing the field (blue with the stars on it) from the stripes is a respectful way to dispose of a flag and when they are separated then it is no longer considered a flag and can be disposed of in a trash bin. We always suggest that you throw each different piece of the former flag in a separate container to further respect our nations symbol.

    I would venture that cutting the stars from the field could be viewed as a sign of disrespect and would NEVER tell any one that it would be ok. I will have to check the flag code to be certain. but this is what i have always said.
     
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    Do you want to check the "Flag Code" regarding "proper disposal" of a "worn out" U.S. Flag ??? :confused:

    GOOD !!! :D

    (Scroll down to K.)



    United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag

    §8. Respect for flag

    No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
    1. The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
    2. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
    3. The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
    4. The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
    5. The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
    6. The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
    7. The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
    8. The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
    9. The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
    10. No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
    11. 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
    NO Cutting.
    NO Slicing.
    NO Dicing.
    NO Ripping.
    NO Tearing.
    NO Separating.
    NO Dismembering.
    NO Remaindering.
    NO Rendering.
    NO Scissors.
    NO Knives.
    NO Razors.
    NO Chainsaws.

    NO CEREMONIES.

    NO DISRESPECTING.



    JUST : "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"



    Case Closed. :cool:



    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  5. Adam Cappps

    Adam Cappps New Member

    First of all, put down the coffee.

    Second, i did check and your correct. I am not sure how you could categorize a ceremony as disrespectful.....

    The cutting the flag in parts seems to have been started by the boy scouts. And if you pay attention to their entire ceremony you would understand that it is VERY Dignified and can be acceptable under the flag code.

    You seem to misunderstand the word "preferably" and you seem to think it means the only way possible. If that were the case it would say YOU MUST BURN THE FLAG THIS IS THE ONLY WAY.

    But it doesn't. So again put the coffee down. and read my last quote

     
  6. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .

    1. I'm not drinking coffee.

    2. I stand by my post. It is in regard to the WHOLE issue, not just your post. It includes removing The Union from the Flag.

    3. There are a number of other threads on the subject in these Forums. Apparently, not very many people choose to read them to find the information they're looking for. Which is why we end up having a large number of people asking the same questions over, and over, and over again.


    Think I'll go brew myself some coffee... :D


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  7. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Adam and Robin,
    The Flag Code contains the only "official" guidance on flag disposal for civilians. It was drafted by the representatives of numerous patriotic organizations in the 1920's and has been modified over time. Flag Code provisions only have the force of law when they are adopted by states, (or imposed on the citizens of the District of Columbia.) However, even when they become state law we see that the Supreme Court takes a dim view on regulating an individual's right to express themselves using the American flag. If the Court upholds a person's right to protest by burning the flag, a symbol that represents their right to conduct such a protest, then variations in the proper means of disposing of a flag would most certainly be acceptable.

    That being said, I subscribe to Robin's assertion that to follow the spirit of the Flag Code you should simply burn a worn out flag. I do not favor protracted ceremonies that involve cutting apart the flag before consigning the constituent parts to the flames - it serves no real purpose.

    Nick
     
  8. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Exactly how would you remove a embroidered star without cutting around it? I can't imagine why you would want to spend the time to remove 50 of them.
     
  9. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    I thought the concept of removing stars from the flag included the portion of the canton that the star was sewn to (or printed on or embroidered on). So what you end up with is 50 pieces of the blue canton, each with one white star.

    Nick
     
  10. William Notro

    William Notro New Member

    Wow, I never knew how narrow some people can be about this topic. If you applied the same narrow mindedness to the rest of your life how amazing your life would be, NOT. Listen folks the point here is that you must be respectful of the flag and a suggestion is still only a suggestion not a law. Yes, there are organizatiions that remove the stars with a slight blue background around them to be sent to military personnel on active duty. they do this so the person in the military will know they are not forgotten by the folks back here at home. Now that sure isn't being disrespectful but rather giving a new passionate, patriotic, life to a part of a worn and tattered flag that can no longer fly. By the way, time is taken to, in a dignified manner, burn the remains of the flags that have had the stars cut out of them. I am a verteran and would have greatly appreciated recieving a star when I was on active duty. Stop making a big to do over something that is of little importance when compared to the patriotic well being and confort these stars instill in those who are far away and putting it on the line daily so we can have this disscusion.
     
  11. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .

    Can You Spell J-U-D-G-E-M-E-N-T-A-L ? ? ? :cool:


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  12. B8ssman

    B8ssman New Member

    (Wow, I never knew how narrow some people can be about this topic.)
    Amen! As is the case with so many things, the spirit of the law is lost in legality.
    These flags are not being desecrated but rather rededicated to service again. They are no longer being raised themselves, but are now used to raise the morale of our heroes, our troops. The code says, “should be destroyed in a dignified wayâ€￾. Is there anything undignified in the stars being removed and caringly packaged to present to a lonely service person to say we love you and care about you, and support you 100%? No.
    I spent 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, they don’t come any more conservative or patriotic than me. My eyes sweat every time I hear the National Anthem and the Marine Corps Hymn. When I received one of these stars just recently it truly touched my heart. Showing our troop we are there for them and that “we’ve got their backâ€￾ is the least we can do. Giving the symbol of our nation as a sign of our commitment to them just as they have committed their lives to protecting us is not disrespectful, it’s an honor.
    Semper Fi
    (Oh, maybe someone will get upset that I didn’t properly pronounce the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis. I have used a slang and not the real motto. What an awful person I must be!)
     
  13. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Veteran's Day, and Removing stars from retired flags

    First of all, thank you to all the Veterans who have read and/or commented on this Forum. We sincerely appreciate your service to our nation. If we disagree on this forum on various issues, well that is just what your service allows us the freedom to do. Again, Thank you for helping to preserve that freedom. :)

    Regarding the opposing opinions expressed on cutting stars out of retired flags and sending them to war fighters:

    Actually, I do. :D

    I work for a US Government regulatory agency. I am responsible for seeing that certain devices are tested according to specification, and that they meet those specifications. I also see that the acceptance of those devices is posted on our web site for all to see. If bogus devices are used, or someone decides that they think they know a better way to install the device without testing it or checking with us, people could die.

    Last Friday I received my agency's highest award for Superior Achievement. Apparently someone thinks I am doing a good job.:cool:

    Back to flags.

    I agree that the US Flag Code is just a suggested practice and not a mandated policy. However, some thoughtful people put that code together because they saw the American Flag as worthy of respect. They were, I am sure, fully aware of the occasional practice during the American Civil War of cutting the Regiment's Flag to pieces and distributing it to soldiers when they were captured by the enemy so that they flag itself would not be captured whole. That these framers of the Flag Code in 1923 did not include cutting up the flag as a means of destruction is significant, in my opinion.

    The one factor that clouds the issue for me is the use of synthetic fabrics. Wool, cotton, and silk flags can be burned safely. Nylon and polyester emit noxious fumes when burned, and poisoning the atmosphere was NOT what the framers of the flag code had in mind. I can't think of an environmentally acceptable means of destroying a nylon or polyester flag other than cutting it up into pieces. Can these fabrics be recycled into new yarns? :confused:

    Nick
     
  14. The Flag Code was written a loooong time ago when there weren't the abundant polyester/synthetic materials used into making the flags. When these synthetics are "burned" they emit toxic fumes and become a black oozy mass of goo. Then it either sits where it was melted or goes off to a land fill. Is THAT honorable? I am part of project that chooses to touch the hearts of veterans and our troops - a star from a former flag that used to fly in all conditions, just as our military serves in ALL conditions. And I've received and given hugs to those same warriors and wiped some tears form those who were truly grateful to receive them. And the stars went into wallets, heart pockets, military shadow/memento boxes, and even caskets. The stars are ONLY from American made flags - NEVER a foreign made one. And NEVER sold or a contribution requested. There is an enormous amount of love and respect along with gratitude in preparation as well as giving them. Honey, if you have objections, check the labels and tags on your clothing, appliances, cars and other items in your household and THEN you can talk about lack of respect.
     
  15. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Yes, that is why my last post ended with, "The one factor that clouds the issue for me is the use of synthetic fabrics. Wool, cotton, and silk flags can be burned safely. Nylon and polyester emit noxious fumes when burned, and poisoning the atmosphere was NOT what the framers of the flag code had in mind. I can't think of an environmentally acceptable means of destroying a nylon or polyester flag other than cutting it up into pieces. Can these fabrics be recycled into new yarns?"

    I agree that the Flag Code may need to be revisited when it comes to synthetics. Perhaps "repurposing" the stars is preferable to burning. Lets keep our minds, and the thread, open on the issue.

    Nick
     
  16. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Nick,
    I agree with you concerning recycling. I know The Flag Shop of Canada sells a "green" Canadian national flag made from recycled materials. It costs a "little" extra than the regular flag though.
     
  17. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member


    That reminds me of something that Doreen Braverman, the founder of The Flag Shop, said. Some tourists were visiting Vancouver for the 1986 World's Fair and, noticing the multi-colored fair banners displayed around the city, asked "Does the Canadian flag come in any other colors besides red?":D

    Nick
     
  18. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    Howdy ! :D


    CF Flag Company stared doing something like that awhile back (1-2 years ago?).

    Here's a link : http://www.recycledusflags.com/


    Of course, in case you didn't know, their "Eco-Flags" are made out of re-cycled sodapop/water bottles and not re-cycled (or "re-purposed") Flags.



    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  19. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Thanks Robin!:) I will look into this however it seems they are still in the process of marketing as the distributors link says "Coming Soon".:(
    I assume you can recycle a nylon/poly flag like anything synthetic. I would just hate just tossing in the recycle bin like a soda bottle. Maybe by folding it and placing it in a recyclable plastic bag would make it less disrespectful?:confused:
     
  20. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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