US Flag Retirement

Properly retiring United States flags that were becoming worn or torn are David Sivret, Ron Rice, and George Blaney on Thursday, June 14th. The event was sponsored by VFW Post 9779. (Submitted photo)

When an American flag is no longer fit for display it must not be thrown away. You might be asking what can be done with an old flag that is worn, faded and tattered.  The U.S. Flag Code states, “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.” There is a special flag disposal ceremony where the flag is burned in accordance with flag disposal protocol. A Flag Retirement Ceremony was held on Flag Day, June 14th by VFW Post 9779.  Members of the VFW folded all flags into their customary triangular manner.  The Commander led the Pledge of Allegiance as the first flag was placed into the fire.  Each additional flag was given a salute before being burned.  During the ceremony, VFW State Chaplain David Sivret shared this prayer “We now stand before you giving thanks for our Country and its Flag. We thank you for liberty, for which our country stands and which our Flag represents. To clean and purging flame we commit these Flags, worn in worthy service. As they yield their substance to the fire, may your Holy Light spread over us and bring our hearts renewed devotion to God and Country.” Amen.”

If you have a flag that needs to be disposed of please contact the local VFW or other organizations that conduct flag disposal ceremonies including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Legion, Marine Corps League and DAR.

It seems appropriate to have a Flag Retirement Ceremony on Flag Day, June 14, 2018.  In 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, the first celebration of the U.S. Flag’s birthday was held.  George Balch , a school teacher led the efforts for the formal observance of ‘Flag Day’ on June 14 which was endorsed by the New York State Board of Education.  It was not until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation that Flag Day be a nationally observed event.  However, it was not designated as National Flag Day until August 3rd, 1949, when an Act of Congress designated June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.


If you would like more information about Flag Day go to The National Flag Day Foundation.  Their goal is to preserve the traditions, history, pride, and respect that are due the nation's symbol, Old Glory.