VFW Post 7589 maintains a collection point at the driveway side of our Post Home for unserviceable American flags.  We will respectfully dispose flags by burning and then dispose of any remaining ash and hardware.  This service is free and you need not call in advance.  Simply drop off your unserviceable American flags and we will do the rest.

Proper Disposal of the American Flag

Click on any picture to enlarge.


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2009_1115(024).JPG (500230 bytes) Boy Scouts from Troop 670
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 Steve Meade
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Rick Raskin
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A neighbor drops off a flag.
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March 7, 2009: Sam Nealey, Rick Raskin and some quality help.

The most dignified method of disposal for an old, torn or damaged flag is burning, but burying the flag is also acceptable, as long as the flag is placed in a closed container so it is never again exposed to the elements or public view. Throwing a flag in the trash is certainly not the right way to go about it.

Flag burning ceremonies can vary; there is no one set ceremony used by all groups that regularly do flag retirement ceremonies. The key is that flags are usually burned in small, semi-private ceremonies and in a dignified way, so that this respectful ceremony can't be confused with some other kind of flag burning.

That said, flags can be burned in a wood fire or in a barrel, which might be better if you don't know what the flags are made of or what they might have come in contact with in the landfill. Polyester melts as it burns and the hot, sticky ash can stick to skin, so burning it in a barrel and keeping everyone a safe distance from it might be helpful for everyone's safety.

If you want to have your own flag retirement ceremony, get the fire going strongly before you start. The National Flag Foundation suggests burning your fire down to a bed of embers before burning the flag so that little bits of the flag won't be swept away by the fire.

If your flags are folded, they should be in a rectangle instead of a triangle shape. Flags may also be cut into pieces to be burned, but be careful not to cut any of the blue field, which represents the Union and should never be severed.

Burn one flag at a time, though you can burn more than one in one ceremony. How you carry out your ceremony depends on you. You can salute each flag as they go into the fire, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, sing patriotic songs, or whatever you like. Remember to safely extinguish the fire when you are done.

[Troop 670's Website]