Gilbert VFW sets flag retirement ceremony

Shown in this photo taken a number of years ago, Lee Hunter, left, and Tom Gentilini take part in a flag retirement, or disposal, ceremony at the Gilbert VFW. The VFW will again dispose of tattered American flags on Saturday.

With Flag Day approaching Friday, it’s a popular time of year to replace old or tattered flags outside of home and businesses.

But what many may not know or remember is that replacing a flag properly involves a few more steps.

According to the United States 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.”

The code doesn’t give specifics on disposal, but many local VFW posts collect old flags and perform an annual disposal ceremony. Their guidelines are follow:

Flag disposal

1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.

2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.

3. Place the flag on the fire.

4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.

5. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.

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