Proper disposal of American flags

by Mary Grow

At the Sept. 3 China selectmen’s meeting, board member Irene Belanger reported that staff at the new Coastal Resources trash disposal and recycling facility were dismayed to find American flags in the trash. They retrieved them and put them on display, Belanger said.

The American flag should not be treated as trash. Here are three acceptable way to dispose of an old flag, according to websites:

  1. The United States Flag Code says old flags should be “destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” It is further recommended that the flag be folded correctly into a triangle and placed on a fire large enough to burn it completely; that the burning be accompanied by a moment of silence, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance or other brief ceremony; and that the ashes be buried.
  2. The flag can be folded correctly, placed in a coffin-like box and buried, again with a brief ceremony.
  3. The flag can be donated to an organization that will dispose of it properly. Suggestions include the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks Lodge, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.

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