The American flag holds a special place in the hearts of all the US citizens and once a flag gets worn out, people start to think how to dispose of it in a respectful manner.
Since throwing the flags or burning them is considered disrespectful, the question very often arises, how do you dispose of an American flag without burning it? Let’s explore all the possible ways of disposing of this flag respectfully.
The United States flag consists of three colors: red, blue and white. Looking a little at the history of the American flag, it has 50 stars, which represent the 50 states of the United States. As far as the reason behind the 13 white strips is concerned, this is because of the 13 colonies that got independence from Great Britain.
Is it Ok to Throw an American Flag?
No, throwing an American flag in a trash can is not advised at all. This is one very disrespectful way of getting rid of the flag and the government forbids it.
Even if you have to burn the flag, you should do it and then one must salute the flag and have a moment of silence in honor of the flag.
However, burning it at home is not a very good option as well. Let’s see some alternate methods of disposing flags in this article.
How do you Dispose of an American Flag without Burning it?
Have a look at the following methods of discarding the flag without burning it:
Take part in the Flag Retirement Ceremony
Flag retirement ceremony takes place to burn the worn out flags properly. One flag, which is chosen as the representative of all the other flags, is burnt in the event. The rest of the material left is buried.
Whoever is leading the ceremony, make a salute and respectfully pay the tribute to the flag. One can also host a flag retirement ceremony in his community and get rid of all the used flags in the neighborhood through this ceremony.
However, if your flag is made of nylon, then burning it won’t be a good idea. It is better to donate it in that case.
Drop-off Flags to Local Organizations
There are local organizations or programs in your city which accept worn out flags. You have to find such communities which help in a respectful disposal of the flags.
Search for the drop-off centers in your city that take the flags and dispose of them for you. Also, you and your society members can collect all the flags from each other and once the boxes are filled, it’s easier to dispose of them together.
See if the trash collection program of your city allows the recycling of flags (Search the city or county):
Respectfully bury the Flag
Another respectful manner of disposing of a flag is by burying it. However, this is not just a simple burial and must be done with extreme care.
There are burial containers in which a folded flag must be put and then buried. This is a dignified way because the flag is not exposed to any microbes or germs thanks to the burial container.
Recycle the Flags
Recycling programs are carried out for some types of flags, usually those which can not be burnt properly. These flags are normally made out of nylon or other recyclable plastic materials.
Some companies or organizations recycle such flags and you can take your nylon flags to them in order to dispose of them.
This is a very great method of getting rid of these things respectfully as recycling is also very good for the environment.
How to dispose of Flags with sticks?
To discard the flags with sticks, one should be very careful. Firstly, remove the stick without damaging the flag.
Then, the next step must be folding the flag in a usual manner, by making a triangle in such a way that the blue region of stars must be visible upwards.
The next step must be disposing of it either by taking part in the flag retirement ceremony or through any other way.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you cut down a flag?
The flag should first be cut vertically, without cutting the blue part with the stars. Then, place the two halves together and cut it horizontally.
What do you say at a flag retirement ceremony?
We must say, “We thank Thee for our Country and its Flag, and for the liberty for which it stands.” at the flag retirement ceremony.
Disposing of American Flag
There are various methods of disposing of an American flag, by recycling them, burying the flags, dropping-off flags to local organizations, and taking part in the flag retirement ceremonies etc. However, whatever method you choose to discard it, the flag is a resident’s honor and hence must be disposed of respectfully.