Proper flag etiquette

Richard Reuer, Minot

As the American Legion Post chaplain of Post #26 I feel that I need to write this letter to the citizens within Minot, which include residential and businesses. Since I became a member of the American Legion Post #26, I, along with other members of our Post, have noticed that flags are being flown that are unserviceable. This is of great concern to me and to the members of the American Legion Post.

I am thankful for the patriotism of the citizens within Minot who fly the U.S. flag. I, and the members of our Post, would like to bring to the attention of the citizens of Minot what we see when we travel throughout the city of Minot. If the flag is torn or tattered then it is time to replace the flag with a new flag. The American Legion would be happy to sell a flag that we have on sale from our Post for $25 and exchange the flag with the unserviceable flag or you may contact VFW, DAV, AM Vets or Boy Scouts. Our Post will be conducting a ceremony of burning unserviceable flags. This ceremony is held on Flag Day, June 14.

I would like to share an article from the Flag Code Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 8, Paragraph (k):

Proper Disposal of the United States Flag

The proper term for flag disposal is “flag retirement ceremony.”

Chapter one, section eight, item k, of the United States flag code states: “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.” Though the flag code does not give specific directions for a “dignified” method, many patriotic organizations, such as the American Legion and the Boy Scouts of America, have developed formal flag retirement ceremonies and perform these ceremonies on behalf of community members who have a flag to retire. If you prefer not to destroy a flag yourself, contact your local American Legion, Boy Scouts of America or veteran’s organization.

Proper way for flag disposal:

1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.

2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.

3. Place the flag on the fire.

4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.

5. After the flag is consumed, the fire should be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.

6. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.

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