Just in Time for Memorial Day: 5 Steps to Retire Your Flag

May 24, 2019

The American flag flies every day but there’s a special significance on Memorial Day. It reminds us of those who died serving our country. We honor those veterans’ sacrifices with respects paid to our flag, including caring and disposing of it properly.

Here are the 5 steps to respectfully retire an American flag.

The 5 steps to respectfully retire an American flag animation

1. In a fire pit or safe, clear area, build a fire that is large and strong enough to completely incinerate the flag. (Be sure to follow your local fire codes and ordinances.)

2. Fold the soiled or worn-out flag into the traditional triangle shape. When finished, the blue field with stars should be the most visible section. 

3. Being careful to not burn yourself, place the folded flag on the fire.

4. As the flag burns, take a moment to observe and respect it. Salute or recite the Pledge of Allegiance and conclude with a moment of silence to reflect on its symbolism.

5. Once the flag is completely burned and no material remains, you can extinguish the fire or allow it to burn out on its own. Following the ceremony, the ashes should be buried.  

There are other methods to consider as well, such as burying the flag in a place where others won’t walk over it or recycling flags made of synthetic materials. For those who would prefer to have someone else perform the disposal, organizations like the American Legion, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts of America all offer some form of flag retirement and ceremony.

Home Depot associate Jason Weldon has taken ownership of properly retiring flags given to the Home Depot. 

To learn how Jason got started, click here.

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