PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Today is Flag Day, a day that commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777.
Given the amount of attention the American flag has received in recent months, it is important to treat the flag, a symbol of freedom and justice, with the utmost respect.
Part of treating the flag with respect is knowing how to properly dispose of a damaged flag. According to the United States Flag Code (4 USC Sec 8 Para (k) Amended 7 July 1976) 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.”
So if a flag is worn, tattered, or soiled beyond repair it should be removed from its pole. WikiHow says you should fold the flag into its traditional triangle fold.
You should then “start with building a medium-size campfire or bonfire in a safe location, away from any buildings or trees. If you can, use a well-maintained fire pit or a dedicated fire area.” WikiHow says to make sure to clear any leaves, garbage or other debris and check local burning ordinances in your area before burning.
During the burn, say the Pledge of Allegiance and once you have no flag remaining, make sure the fire is completely put out.
You can also bury the folded flag or shred it before burying. If shredding, use scissors to slowly and methodically separate the thirteen stripes, leaving the blue star-spangled field intact.
When buried, the flag must be placed in a sturdy wooden box. Observe a moment of silence as the flag is buried. You may also choose to mark the burial location of the flag with a small, respectful wooden or stone marker.
Another option is recycling synthetic flags or giving the flag to a qualified organization.