What To Do With A Faded American Flag

What To Do With A Faded American Flag

What To Do With A Faded American Flag

Respecting the American Flag: Proper Disposal of a Faded American Flag

The American flag, a revered symbol of national pride and unity, holds a profound place in the hearts of Americans. However, as time takes its toll, even the most cherished flags may fade, fray, or become damaged. When this happens, it’s crucial to dispose of the flag with the utmost respect and dignity.

Significance of the American Flag

The American flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, represents the indomitable spirit, freedom, and democratic values that have defined the United States for centuries. Its colors, stars, and stripes carry significant symbolism:

  • Red: Hardiness and valor
  • White: Purity and innocence
  • Blue: Vigilance, perseverance, and justice
  • Stars: The 50 states united as a nation
  • Stripes: The 13 original colonies that declared independence

Etiquette for Flag Disposal

According to the United States Flag Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, there are specific guidelines for the proper disposal of an American flag when it is no longer fit for display:

Method 1: Burning

  • Burn the flag in a dignified manner, preferably during a formal ceremony or at a designated disposal facility.
  • Ensure that the flag is completely consumed by the flames.
  • Dispose of the ashes respectfully.

Method 2: Burying

  • Fold the flag carefully and place it in a biodegradable container, such as a wooden box or cardboard carton.
  • Bury the container in a private location, such as your backyard or a nearby cemetery.
  • Mark the burial site with a small stone or marker to show respect.

Additional Guidelines

  • Never: Burn a flag on the ground or in a disrespectful manner.
  • Always: Dispose of the flag promptly after it becomes unsuitable for display.
  • Respect: Treat the flag with the same reverence you would show to any other national symbol.

Finding Flag Disposal Services

Various organizations and government entities offer flag disposal services to ensure proper handling and respect. Contact these organizations for guidance and assistance:

  • American Legion: www.legion.org
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): www.vfw.org
  • Boy Scouts of America: www.scouting.org
  • Girl Scouts of the USA: www.girlscouts.org
  • Local Municipal Services: Contact your city or county government for information on designated disposal sites.


Q: What is the best method for disposing of a flag?

A: Burning is the preferred method, but burying is also acceptable.

Q: Can I burn a flag in my backyard?

A: Yes, but it’s essential to follow the guidelines outlined in the Flag Code and ensure the flag is completely consumed by the flames.

Q: Is it disrespectful to throw away a flag?

A: Yes, disposing of a flag in the trash is considered disrespectful and against the Flag Code.

Q: What should I do with a flag that has become frayed or ripped?

A: If the flag is still in good condition, repair it. If it is beyond repair, dispose of it according to the Flag Code.

Q: Can I use the American flag for other purposes, such as clothing or decorations?

A: Using the American flag for non-patriotic purposes is generally discouraged.


The American flag is a sacred symbol that deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. When it becomes faded, damaged, or no longer suitable for display, dispose of it in a dignified and appropriate manner. By following the guidelines outlined in the Flag Code and seeking assistance from designated organizations, you can ensure that your beloved flag receives the reverence it deserves.

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