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SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
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Newsletters > FLAG RETIREMENT THE WRONG WAY
FLAG RETIREMENT THE WRONG WAY

Jul 5, 2019

Lately , I have been asked what is the proper way to retire a flag. In the American Legion we have a ceremony guidelines that we follow along with the US Flag Code. different Post have different ways to present a ceremony and that will be not changed unless the Post members wish too.
One of the main questions that is being asked it this " How do we cut the flag of it's stars and stripes prior to burning?" Well the answer is simple "WE DON"T". If you cut the stars from the stripes, It is no longer the American Flag and you can then feel better about burning it. I guess that is the illogical reasoning behind the act of inital disrespect to the flag to avoid disrespect to the flag. It doesn't make sense to cut up the American Flag unless it is too big to burn safely. Then, cut it into four parts pieces, but the Scouts cutting up smaller flags are wholly unnecessary.
Boy and Girls Scouts and many veteran organizations across the country are practicing this disrespect to our flags. I do not know when or where it started, but it needs to be stopped ! We need to educate not only the Scouts but all the groups including well meaning veteran groups.
Recently I read a reply to this comment that stated that a flag company had stated on its website that it was okay to cut the flags and therefore we are going to cut them. Last I had heard is that Congress makes the rules and that is through the US Flag Code.

Flag Retirement the Correct way is simple:

When to actually cut the flag to be burned is when it too big for safety reasons. Safety is paramount.

At Home:

Make a fire in your grill or fire pit. Fold your flag into a rectangle (No, it does not represent a casket) and place it on the fire, A folded flag into a triangle is much more difficult to burn due to all the flag folder layers.

In A Public Ceremony:

Place the representative flag, folded into a triangle on a very hot fire and follow the ceremony guidelines for unservicable flags. Burn the rest of the flags eligible for retirement in an incinerator, crematory pit or a roaring fire.

Unserviceable Flags Ceremony was adopted by the 19th National Convention of the American Legion, Resolution No 440 in New York, Sept 20-23, 1937.. It outlines the proper way to dispose of unservicable falgs and the guidelines of the proper ceremony to do so.
No where in the guidelines does it allow for cutting the flag or does it advocate cutting the canton ( Blue Field) from the Stripes. It is extremely disrespectful to do so and it does not condone what some flag-based websites has to say for as a recommendation. I am providing good guidance to providing intermost respect to our flag.





"You Are Not Forgotten"
Tommy Cannon
Commander
Georgia POW/MIA Honor Guard
American Legion, Post 29, Department of Georgia