How to Properly Dispose the American Flag

In 1777, the Continental Congress approved the first official American flag. Since then it has been shown prominently by many people as a symbol of their pride in America’s history, freedom, and union. Although the American Flag has had 27 incarnations since 1777, its meaning has remained profound and its presence during some of country’s most extraordinary moments has been woven into the very fabric of American history.

During the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, the Marines fought their way up the heavily fortified Mount Suribachi. When they achieved their objective, they raised the American flag and the Associated Press’s Joe Rosenthal captured the moment. The picture would become iconic of the American effort in the Pacific but more so of the American’s determination to win.  

After capturing their objective on Iwo Jima, Mt. Suribachi, Marines raised the American flag.

The Attacks of September 11th

In more recent memory, the American flag was raised at the Attack of the World Trade Centers. This tragedy took the lives of about 3,000 people. Despite the risk of losing their own lives, first responders acted without hesitation to save the lives of people. First responders and countless others were killed, but some were fortunate.

To remember the brave and selfless first responders, as well as all those who perished in this tragedy, the American Flag was raised high and proud as a representation of America coming together during a troubled time.

These are just two examples of times and places the American flag has been raised and where its presence has deepened the meaning of the flag itself.  

Disposing of the American Flag

Needless to say, the American flag is more than just a piece of fabric, it is deeply rooted in America and its people. So if an American flag were to be thrown away as if it were garbage, it would be highly disrespectful to this extraordinary cloth. For this reason the flag must be disposed of with care and honor.

If you have  and old American flag that needs to be disposed of and you are unsure of how to properly do so below we have listed ways to dispose of it in a respectful manner.

Burn It

Burning the American flag is a very common practice which is also called retiring the flag. However, it’s not that simple. This is a valuable process governed by a set of rules to ensure the flag is appropriately disposed of.

For a complete burn of the flag, ensure that the fire is large and well-lit so that all pieces of the flag will be ignited. Next, prepare the flag for its retirement by neatly folding it. Once that is completed place the flag into the flames. While the flag burns show your respect by singing the National Anthem or by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Due to the significance of the flag, this is a highly important step.

Burying the flag

Another way to dispose of the American flag respectfully is to bury it. If you are unable to burn the flag, this is a great alternative. Burying the flag is super simple. You should begin by digging a substantial hole. Then, neatly fold the flag and place it in a heavy-duty container. Following the placement of the flag, you can fill in the hole and sing the national anthem or pledge of allegiance.

Donate

In the United States, it is very common to feel uncomfortable disposing of something that holds great significance. The good news is that there are organizations that take old, worn-out American flags and dispose of them properly. These places can be found by searching “who takes donated American flags near me” In the meantime, below is a list of organizations that would be more than happy to accept your old American flags.

It is important that your old American flag retain its historical significance, which is where Upcycling comes in handy. By upcycling, you display freedom, perseverance, and courage, as well as representing the 50 states. There are many fun and creative decorations perfect for the Fourth of July.

Frame it!

Are you in search of the right piece to spruce up that boring wall? The best and easiest way to decorate with old American flags is to frame them. All you need for this project is a frame, an American flag, and tools to hang it on the wall!

Curtain

Is your window looking a little drab? Using an old American flag is a great way to minimize the amount of sun shining in while adding a wonderful representation of America. 

To complete this project, you will need a curtain rod, fabric glue, an American flag, and hanging tools. First, lay your flag out and fold about 2 ½ inches on either end of the flag. Next, place a thin line of fabric glue where the fold meets the flag and wait till it’s fully dried. Then insert the curtain rod into the folded and glued section of the flag. Finally, hang the curtain rod on the wall and enjoy your upcycled curtain.

Photo: Remodelista

Door Wreath

If you are looking for 4th of July decoration everyone will love, make a wreath out of your flag. In addition to being a great decoration, it is a nice way to upcycle a symbol of America’s history.

The American flag is not an ordinary piece of cloth, it is a piece of American history woven with profound meaning. Therefore disposing of it should be done with care and honor to all that it means.

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*LivingInOaklandPark.com is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.

About the Author

Jada Spaulding

Jada Spaulding

Jada was born and raised in South Florida and to this day she calls it her home. She attends Nova High School and Florida Virtual School, where she learns the challenges of the world and how to thrive within. Currently, she is taking 12 classes, working part-time at Publix, an admin volunteer for local nonprofits, and a proud member of the National Honor Society. During her senior year of high school, she will be doing early admissions into Broward College, pursuing her high school diploma while getting a head start on her college degree.

After high school, Ms.Spaulding wants to pursue a PharmD degree and work for Publix Pharmacies. Helping out in the community and academic success is Ms.Spaulding number one priority, and she excels in everything she does.

One of Ms. Spaulding’s dream is to own a nonprofit organization that helps kids gain access to education and food in low-income areas and countries in need.

When Ms.Spaulding Isn't consumed with work, school, and volunteering she enjoys fishing, spending time with family, and spoiling her pets. At such a youthful age, Jada exemplifies passion, dedication and works hard to empower young people like herself to always follow their dreams.

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