Re: Flag Retirement
Stan Pope (StanDCmr@AOL.COM)
Sat, 24 Aug 1996 13:28:01 -0400
1. Who can perform a flag retirement?
All restrictions are listed in the federal law quoted below
(i.e. anyone who will do it in a "dignified manner".)
2. What are the proper methods of retirement?
Burning is given as a preference. (It is a very "permanent" retirement.)
3. When should a flag be retired?
"when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for
display". If you mean "on what occasions?" then it appears that there are no
restrictions, except "dignified".
4. Most important where is this information written down?"
Here are the best sources I know:
"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."
(United States Federal Law, 36 U.S.C. 176(k))
"When our national flag is worn beyond repair, cut it into small pieces that
will burn easily and completely on a modest, but blazing fire. This should be
done in a simple manner with dignity and respect. Be sure the flag is reduced
to ashes unrecognizable as a former flag." (Your Flag, BSA # LM33188. This
is the entire reference to Flag Retirement in the pamphlet, but I'm working
from an old printing, 1984, of this pamphlet, so there may be more in a later
The manuscript for this BSA pamphlet was reviewed by an impressive list of
people and organizations. One type of resource was not included in the
review. Veterans organizations, such as the VFW, have a profound respect for
the flag and for its traditions. Try checking with your local posts for
"This question came up at our Council Training meeting this past Monday and I
have been asked to get a definative answer.
"1. Who can perform a flag retirement?
"2. What are the proper methods of retirement?
"3. When should a flag be retired?
"4. Most important where is this information written down?"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City