Worn out American flag? Give it the respectful retirement it deserves

Plainfield American Legion Marne Post 13 held ceremony on Sept 2. Here’s how to host your own.

The Louis Joliet Chapter National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a flag retirement ceremony on Sept. 2 at the Plainfield American Legion Marne Post 13

More than 150 damaged and faded U.S. flags were retired during the ceremony. The ritual featured a combination of prayers, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and “placing the flags into the fire as the dates the 13 original states’ date of entry was read,” according to a news releaes from the Louis Joliet chapter.

The U.S. Department of Defense website said at June 14, which is Flag Day, is the most popular day for American Legions to hold a flag retirement ceremony. But if you need to retire a flag, you can do so at home, provided you retire the flag in a dignified manner, the website said.

Here’s the proper way to retire a flag.

1) Properly fold the flag. The Scout Life Magazine YouTube page shows how.

2) Make sure your ceremony confirms to local and state fire codees and ordinances before you begin.

3) Be sure your fire is large enough to burn the entire flag.

4) Salute the flag and then recite the Pledge of Allegiance or take a moment of silence.

4) Make sure the flag is fully consumed before safely extinguishing the fire.

5) Other options to burning the flag include placing the folded flag in a “dignified box” and then burying it.

6) The flag may also be recycled, a good option for synthetic or nylon flags.

7) Or donate your flag to Stars For Our Troops. This nonprofit cuts the stars from worn flags and sends them to veterans, along with a note of appreciation for their service.

For more information about the Louis Joliet Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, contact Marie Lozano at lozanoma1336@gmail.com.

For more information on retiring worn U.s. flags, visit defense.gov.

For more information on Stars for Our Troops, visit starsforourtroops.org.

Denise  Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.