How are American flags properly retired?

Each year we host our annual Flag Day Flag Exchange in which the public brings in their old, tattered American flags to be exchanged with a brand new flag. But what happens to the exchanged flags? How are they properly retired?

flags retired

Here’s a typical process for retiring an American flag:

American flags are properly retired with respect and dignity, following guidelines set by the U.S. Flag Code.

  1. Preparation: Choose a suitable location and time for the ceremony. It often involves a solemn and respectful setting. At Holley Insurance, our flags are retired at Mountain View Memorial Park by a local boy scout troop.
  2. Cutting: Begin by cutting the flag into pieces, typically along the stripes, separating the blue field of stars from the rest of the flag.
  3. Burning: The separated pieces are then placed into a fire, with proper precautions taken to ensure safety and to prevent any disrespect to the flag. As the flag burns, it should be accompanied by a respectful ceremony, which may include reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the national anthem.
  4. Disposition of Ashes: Once the flag is completely burned, the ashes are collected and buried in a dignified manner.
  5. Ceremony: Throughout the process, it’s essential to maintain a respectful and solemn atmosphere, recognizing the flag’s significance and the values it represents.

Alternatively, some organizations may also conduct flag retirement ceremonies that involve burying the entire flag intact in a respectful manner. The key principle is to ensure that the retirement is conducted with reverence and in accordance with the traditions and guidelines that honor the flag’s symbolism and importance.

Holley Insurance Flag Exchange

Holley Insurance Team

A little more about Holley Insurance…

Holley Insurance was founded in 2000, and retains a core base of loyal clients. We have locations in Roanoke, Rocky Mount, and Forest, VA. As an independent insurance agency, Holley Insurance represents a carefully selected group of financially strong, reputable insurance companies. Therefore, we are able to offer you the best coverage at the most competitive price.  If you’re interested in starting a quote online or having us take a look at your current policies, click here!

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