CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Flag Day is June 14, which commemorates the day that the United States first approved the design for its first national flag in 1777. It’s a good day to remember to give worn-out flags the respect of a proper retirement.
When to retire an American flag
The National Flag Foundation says that flags should be retired in a respectful manner “when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display.” If a flag is torn, ripped or beyond repair, it should be retired. Statistically, a flag that is flown outside consistently will only last about 90 days in good condition.
How to retire a flag
The easiest way to properly dispose of a flag is to drop it off as at an approved disposal location. Veterans of Foreign Wars officers, Americans Legions, local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, local drop boxes and even some stores like Walmart and Home Depot will take and properly dispose of old flags.
Here is a list of paces in north central West Virginia where you can leave your flags to be properly retired:
- Local VFW; use this link to find a post near you
- Local American Legion; use this link to find post near you
- Local Girl Scout Troop
- Local Boy Scout Troop
- Home Depot (check your local location)
- Walmart (check your local location)
- Part City (check your local location)
- Ace Hardware (check your local location)
Anyone can perform a flag retiring ceremony. So if you cant find a drop-off location near you or would rather perform the ceremony yourself, you can do so. Here are instructions for performing flag-burning from the National Flag Foundation:
- Before conducting a flag burning ceremony, note the material of your flag and the local fire ordinances. Some materials may emit toxins if openly burned.
- Fold the whole flag in its customary manner. Instructions for properly folding a flag can be found here.
- Start a fire large enough to completely burn the flag.
- Respectfully place the flag into the fire. The flag should not touch the ground in the process.
- As the flag begins to burn, salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance and pause for a moment of silence. The flag should be thoroughly burned so that nothing besides ashes is left.
- Bury the ashes.
Flag-burning ceremonies should always be respectful and dignified, according to the NFF. Click here to see other disposal options such as burying and recycling American flags.