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VFW collecting worn, tattered flags for retirement May 20

With Memorial Day 2023 just around the corner, the Kenneth M. Hayes Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 3825 believes it is an appropriate time to collect U. S. Flags for retirement. The United States Flag Code, Title 4, Section 8k states:  “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” It is up to you to decide when your flag is ready to be retired but If the flag is unable to be repaired or is too tattered, then the flag should be retired.

On Saturday, May 20, the Post will be collecting flags for retirement. Anyone with a flag needing retirement can stop by the Quincy Veteran’s Hall at 274 Lawrence St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to drop off flags. The Post will ensure the flags receive proper retirement.

Flag Code

How do you know your flag should be retired?

Sometimes your flag will only need to be cleaned to restore its original appearance. Regular cleaning of your flag can extend its life considerably. Flags can be machine-washed with a mild detergent in cold water. Flags should be hung to dry or laid flat. Do not fold the flag if it is damp.

If it is possible, mend a tattered flag at early signs of wear. The edge furthest from the staff, known as the “fly” end is usually the first part of the flag to show wear. The fly end may start to unravel due to weather conditions.

The Flag Code suggests that when a flag has served its useful purpose, “it should be destroyed, preferably by burning.” For individual citizens, this should be done discreetly so the act of destruction is not perceived as a protest or desecration.

Many American Legion posts conduct disposal ceremonies of unserviceable flags, especially on Flag Day (June 14). Such ceremonies are particularly dignified and solemn occasions for the retirement of unserviceable flags. Take your old flags to your local American Legion post. They will be happy to retire your flags in their next disposal ceremony.

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