Once an American flag becomes worn, torn or faded, it needs to be respectfully retired and disposed of. This can be done in several ways.
Burn It Yourself
The most common and most accepted method is to burn the USA flag. You can do this yourself or turn it over to an organization such as Veteran's of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts troop and they will burn it in a ceremony.
According to the flag code and the VFW website, to burn an American flag on your own, there are specific steps:
1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.
2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the U.S. flag.
3. Place the flag on the fire.
4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
5. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.
6. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.
If you cannot burn the flag, you can also bury it. Fold it up, place it in a box and bury it. You must make sure it does not touch the dirt which is why you put it in a box.You can take a few moments to salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance or have a brief period of silent reflection.
Cut It Up
Cutting up a flag sounds awful, but according to the Flag Code, once a flag is cut, it is no longer an official U.S. flag and can be disposed of in various methods. When cutting up the flag, you will want to ensure that you do not cut into the blue star field. This section should remain whole, but you can cut the rest of the flag as you see fit.
Give it to an organization that will burn it in a ceremony.
Such organizations as the Veteran's of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts troop collect worn flags ready for retiring and then burn them in a ceremony often on Flag Day.
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