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Don’t toss Old Glory into the trash
Last week a trash bin on Millen Highway contained the expected items.
There were boxes and bags of old and discarded items. There were items that seemed as though they recently were part of a much larger collection of things in a garage or shed.
Really nothing out of the ordinary for a dumpster -- except for one visible item.
An American flag that within a glance you knew it had served well as a symbol of our nation.
But it was tossed into the trash. That is not how one should dispose of Old Glory.
A photograph of the flag was published in the skybox on the front page of this July 28, 2011, edition of your Sylvania Telephone.
Once the photo was taken, the flag was removed and given to a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars for the flag’s proper retirement.
Some people do not know the law about how to retire an American flag and some may choose to ignore it out of laziness.
For those who do know and do follow the rules of proper flag etiquette, we applaud you. For the other, the following provides some guidelines.
Thank you for reading this reminder and thank you for honoring your symbol of freedom.
If you don’t properly dispose of the American flag properly, you could be breaking federal law and be liable for fines and, in rare cases, imprisonment.
Burning a tattered American flag is the preferred method of disposal according to The Flag Code approved by Public Law 829 on Dec. 22, 1942, by the 77th Congress, 2nd Session.
Like we did, you may contact a local veterans or scouting organization to see if they accept flags for proper disposal.
Many groups hold annual flag burning ceremonies on Flag Day June 14. Such a ceremony is held each year in the city of Sylvania.
A person also can create their own flag burning dispaosal ceremony as long as the laws are obeyed. The ceremony must be a respectful, private occasion, not a public display.
We urge you to contact the National Flag Foundation, local scout or veterans groups for recommended flag retirement and burning ceremonies if you wish to conduct your own.
The National Flag Conference participants adopted the first regulations regarding display and disposal of the American Flag on June 14, 1923. Each of the 66 organizations represented at the conference agreed to follow the accepted rules, based largely on procedures developed by the Army and Navy. After a few revisions, in 1942 the Second Session of the 77th Congress passed the regulations into Public Law 829. In addition to establishing protocol for handling and displaying the flag, it also suggests etiquette for disposal of a flag that is beyond repair.
First, arrange three logs in a triangle shape with one end of each stick overlapping the end of the next.
Then place tinder in the open space between the logs. Newspaper strips, straw and dryer lint make good tinder.
Build the remaining logs into a tent shape over the triangle shape, with one end of each stick resting on the ground outside the triangle. The logs should lean in until the tops of the logs rest against each other.
Strike a match or use a lighter and place flame to tinder, making sure there is room for air to circulate. Once the top logs have caught fire, observe to see if you need more wood.
Prepare the flag by cutting into four pieces, ensuring to leave the blue field intact. Alternatively, cut the blue field out, then cut each stripe apart, resulting in 13 strips and one blue section.
Place the flag sections onto flames using grill tongs or other device, being careful to avoid flames.
Then extinguish fire with bucket of water once flames have consumed the flag.
The American flag is a symbol for the nation, and it comes with rules that govern how it may be used. Flag etiquette specifies the way you can display the flag, how it should be raised and lowered, and other uses for it. It also entails what to do with stained or damaged flags and prohibitions for use of the flag.
We highly suggest you read more about how to take care of your flag. Flying the flag honors our nation, but flying our flag inappropriately certainly does not.