Re: RETIRING AMERICAN FLAG
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sat, 27 Sep 1997 02:24:23 -0400
The Amerian Legion publishes a phamplet called "Let's be Right on Flag
Etiquette (American Legion, National Emblem Sales, P.O. Box 1050,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206) which is distributed by their National
Americanism Commission. At page 18 the American Legion states:
"Q. How are unservicable Flags destroyed?
"A. The code suggests that, 'when a Flag has served its useful purpose,
it should be destroyed, preferably by burning'. For individual citizens
this should be done discretely so that the act of destruction is not
perceived as a protest or desecration. Many American Legion Posts hold
Flag Disposal Ceremonies on June 14 Flag Day each year. This
ceremony creates a particularly dignified and solemn occasion for the
retirement of unusable Flags. (Sec. 176)(k)"
The U.S. Code 30 USC 176 does not prohibit such ceremonies. Another
statute 18 USC 700 specifically points out that any conduct consisting of
the disposal of a Flag when it has become worn or soiled is not
desecration of the Flag.
A suitable ceremony was written up by F. WIllard Vickery "With Honor and
Dignity" Scouting Magazine, May/June 1993 at page 34.
Additional flag retirement ceremonies can be found at:
> gleam of thought. You say that I as an individual could not 'retire' a
> flag right? Okay then, I'll burn it as a method of expression. And thats
> that, end of story. The SC said I could do it already ...
This reminds me of a famous quote attributed to Justice Potter Stewart in
an addressed to delivered to lawyers:
"The trouble with your profession is that you all are confused about what
you have a right to do under the Constitution and the right thing to do."
Jeff in this case we probably both agree that the right thing is a solemn
and dignified retirement of a flag by burning. Just couldn't resist the
humor form the "SC".
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
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