Your American Flag

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Our flag was looking really bad. Like not only embarrassing for us, but against the rules for using it anymore. Did you know there are rules for flying your American flag? When you can and can’t, how you should and shouldn’t and how you should properly retire it?

So, a couple weekends ago, I bought a new American Flag for the front of our house. Mr. Serious took down the old flag and was getting ready to put it in the trash. “Noooooooooooo. You can’t put the flag in the trash. We have to dispose of it properly!”

I’m pretty sure the sigh was audible throughout the neighborhood. But, I wasn’t going to let him toss it, so I took to Facebook and Instagram asked if anybody knew a place I could outsource my flag “burial” or flag retirement ceremony. Turns out there are quite a few places you can take your flag that will handle it for you so you won’t feel guilty for doing it wrong.

Properly Retire Your American Flag

A couple places/organizations mentioned:

  • Local chapter of Veterans of Foreign War (VFW)
  • Local Boy Scout Troop
  • American Legions
  • Fleet Reserve
  • Local Military Installation
  • Many local government buildings
  • Public Libraries.

Who knew there were so many places to bring a flag to properly retire it? I knew that there was a ceremony and burning involved and honestly, I didn’t feel like I would do it right, so I outsourced. I brought our old flag to a neighbor who would bring it to a Boy Scout troop for it’s proper retirement ceremony.

I found a pretty nice concise list of other rules for flying your American Flag. One thing that’s not noted, the Texas flag can be flown at the same height as an American Flag. Gotta love  Texas!

Have you ever attended a flag retirement ceremony?

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42 Comments

  1. Of course the Texas flag can be flown at the same height as the American flag. Another reason to move back

  2. We did a retirement ceremony complete with burning when I was at Girl Scout camp. It was very somber.

  3. My husband is a vet, so I actually knew all that, but for people who aren’t in the military, they probably wouldn’t have known this 🙂

  4. I need to get a new one- we “refresh ours on July 4th every year. I normally get it to a neighbor who is a veteran. I had no idea that I could take it to the library! Thank you!

  5. I have attended a flag retirement. A lot of people don’t know how to fly or retire one.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I have not attended one, but have heard of them.

  7. I’ve never attended one of these ceremonies. I did see a local troop had put out an announcement for people to bring their old flags to them.

  8. So interesting, thank you for sharing! I knew you weren’t supposed to just throw it away but I didn’t know where you could bring it.

  9. I’ve never attended a flag retirement ceremony, but I did know that there were certain rituals. We bought a house and inherited several old flags with the house. And we had a brand new flag. The old ones are still in the basement (I really need to donate them this summer.)

  10. Wow America is serious about the flags! I had no idea but this was great eduational information just in time for 4th of July!

  11. I have never heard of this.But then again most people over here do not have a flag outside their house,It would be nice if we did.

  12. This is so interesting. I didn’t know there were rules about flying a flag and its condition.

  13. I have not been to a retirement ceremony. Our father-in=law takes care of these for us. Good to know!

  14. I’ve never attended one, but I did know that there were guidelines to follow. I would have had to do the research like you did though. I wonder if most people just toss it in the trash.

  15. pat chance says:

    I agree with Momma E

    interesting information on the flag – I never knew there were so many rules

  16. I love our american flag at the house! When we lived on the military base I had one and a storm torn it up after we moved. I waited almost 4 years before getting another one, but when we moved into our new house I just had to have one!

  17. I didn’t know a flag was supposed to be burned. Is that what people threaten with when they want to rebel against the USA?

  18. I have always wanted to attend a flag retirement ceremony! I wish more people would treat the American Flag with respect and retire it properly!

  19. This is really good to know. I knew there was probably some etiquette, but still needed to know some of these tips.

  20. We’ve used my son’s Boy Scout troop before to retire an old flag. One f the benefits of growing up with a father in the military is knowing all of the flag rules lol.

  21. I didn’t know there was a process. Thanks for sharing this!

  22. Honestly, with all the rules of flying and disposing of an American flag, we don’t put one out. Just my luck, I would offend someone in the neighborhood if I did something wrong.

  23. I knew that when you dispose of a flag you are not to burn it. I had no idea where you were supposed to take it or what else you could/couldn’t do with it. I’ve seen some crafters on Etsy repurpose.

  24. This is great. I had no idea there were options like this but it’s important to know especially as my husband just joined the Navy.

  25. I have never attended a flag retirement ceremony, but I did know a lot about how to hang the flag and how to take care of it from the years in school when students were the ones to hang the flag on pole and bring it in at end of school day.

  26. It really bugs me when I see a flag that is in a state of disrepair being flown, or when I see the flag displayed with the union on the wrong side. My husband laughs at (with) me as I rant about flag etiquette to anyone that will listen.

  27. This is great info. There are so many people who disrespect the flag out of ignorance.

  28. I knew there were some rules about the flag. Can’t say I was 100 percent sure what they were. Great information here. Very helpful.

  29. We used to have an American Flag outside our home and it got tattered. It’s been years ago, but I remember that we had to go through a process to dispose of it.

  30. Well, being military, I sorta knew that …
    LOL… and lucky for us, we have a legion right down the road for just this type of thing 😉

  31. Ellen Casper says:

    wow – what interesting facts! Lived in Texas but never knew that you could fly the Texas flag and American flag at the same height!

  32. I haven’t attended a ceremony before but I know in downtown Cumming there is a little mailbox that you can drop off your old flags and they will collect them and have a ceremony.

  33. Great post! I bet there are a lot of people unaware that you are supposed to do this. And kudos to you for saving Old Glory from a trashy demise!

  34. Nicole Dz says:

    I have never been to a flag retirement ceremony, and never knew you shouldn’t just toss out a old flag, that’s theres a proper way of disposing of it, interesting.

  35. I have never attended a flag retirement ceremony. I knew that you had to dispose of it a certain way. I just didn’t realize there were so many groups that would take it and do it properly. Thanks for the great info!

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