Displaying a flag outside for all to see, where it will experience different temperatures and ever-changing weather, will eventually result in a worn flag. Even the sturdiest flags will fade and fray with time.
With all the patriotic meaning that the flag holds, it would be wrong to throw it in the trash like ordinary garbage. But what is the proper way to retire an American flag? Many people do not know what to do with old and worn out flags.
A set of laws pertaining to U.S. flag disposal, known as the U.S. Flag Code, specifies how to dispose of torn or worn ones regularly and properly, a process known as flag retirement.
The U.S. Flag Code, Title 4, Section 8, Subsection K states, “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
To many Americans, the national flag symbolizes freedom, innocence and unity. According to U.S. Flag Code, Title 4, Section 8, Subsection J, “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.”
Desecration or defilement of the U.S. flag, such as occurred Jan. 6 when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, is illegal under 18 U.S. Code, Section 700, which states, “Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year or both.”
Several local flag retirement ceremonies were held this weekend. In Perry, the VFW Post 2060 held a ceremony Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Park. Participating patriots were VFW Post 2060 Commander Nathan Hoffman, Junior Vice Commander Ron Leber, Quartermaster Ajay Liebelt and members Frank Eiteman, Matt Bramer and Bob Dobek.
In Adel, the ADM Scout Troop 152 and the American Legion Osborne Post 99 of Minburn held a retirement ceremony Sunday at the Dallas County Fairgrounds for flags from Adel, Dallas Center and Minburn.
Flag disposal boxes can be found in most towns for everyone who has a flag that needs to be retired.