How to know when to replace your American flag
With Memorial Day approaching, it's time to pay tribute to those who died in active military service. And that means there's no better time to make sure your American flag is worthy to display.
According to Section 8k of the Flag Code, "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."
If the flag has a small tear, it can be repaired by someone skilled at sewing. Or if it's dirty, it can be washed. If that's not the case, here are some of the signs that your American flag may be ready for replacement:
• The colors have faded
• Frayed edges
• Permanent stains
• Holes or tears beyond repair
When it comes time to retire your flag, there are plenty of options, ranging from the VFW, Elks Lodge, the American Legion, Knights of Columbus or local Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops.
For example, Boy Scout guidelines say: “We simply need to ask ourselves if the manner in which we are retiring (destroying) the flag is dignified. If the answer is yes, then that method is perfectly acceptable.”
The retirement possibilities include:
• Burning (some may not be burned because of the flag's material)
• Cutting into 4 pieces and disposal (once it's been cut, it's no longer considered a flag)
Common flag myths
How well do you know your flag etiquette and rules? The folks at starspangledflags.com put together some common misconceptions, and here are some of the topics:
• If the American flag touches the ground, it must be destroyed. (False)
• Only the president and state governors can determine if a flag should be flown at half mast. (True)
• A flag cannot be washed. (False)
• It's OK to fly outdated U.S. flags, like any with less than 50 stars. (True)
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