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The "Right Way" to retire U.S. Flag...

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, ianwilkins said:

Ok, seriously, in the interests of international knowledge exchange, what are you doing to your flags? On what basis are flags retired? If they touch the ground? The slightest speck of dirt? Are they use once only? 300 at a time? I'm taken aback.

Ian

 

We can get that many after the removed the flags from veteran graves on holidays, they pass the damaged ones that cannot be reused to us to take care of.

Edited by scotteg83
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18 minutes ago, ianwilkins said:

Ok, seriously, in the interests of international knowledge exchange, what are you doing to your flags? On what basis are flags retired? If they touch the ground? The slightest speck of dirt? Are they use once only? 300 at a time? I'm taken aback.

Ian

 

@ianwilkins There are a lot of American flags flown in this country. In some parts every household has one, and every light pole on every main street shopping district may be decorated with one, then there are the ones mounted on pickup trucks, motorcycles, golf carts ... Generally, when flags start to get frayed, folks in the community know to give them to scouts and their leaders.  It's an odd year when we don't have hundreds to retire.

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On 5/28/2019 at 8:51 AM, ianwilkins said:

Ok, seriously, in the interests of international knowledge exchange, what are you doing to your flags? On what basis are flags retired? If they touch the ground? The slightest speck of dirt? Are they use once only? 300 at a time? I'm taken aback.

Ian

 

Can't speak for their specific circumstance, but one of our Scouts Eagle project was a flag collection box at city hall.  Periodically we go down and clean that out.  They can get numerous.  Ours is typically during the annual Webelos visitation campout.  We publicize a few weeks prior and get them from the church and random bags left at the shed.  Never had 400 but we have had a boatload.

The local council summer camp does a great ceremony on Wednesday night and troops can bring flags.  They actually have built an oven type device to place at the fire ring.  While the main ceremony retires a good many, it does not get all retired.  There is every couple of weeks another private ceremony where the staff retires all the collected flags using the stove device.  It provides a more concentrated fire and contains the flags.  Burns faster and cleaner.

Honestly when you start collecting flags, there can be a bunch coming out of the woodwork

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Ok, seriously, in the interests of international knowledge exchange, what are you doing to your flags? On what basis are flags retired? If they touch the ground? The slightest speck of dirt? Are they use once only? 300 at a time? I'm taken aback.

Ian

The VFW is a collection point for the flags in our country  where people can drop off  unusable  flags  they also have a box at the county landfill in the recycling center.  The VFW collects them and   then schedules Quarterly for a ceremonial retirements.     

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On 5/28/2019 at 6:51 AM, ianwilkins said:

Ok, seriously, in the interests of international knowledge exchange, what are you doing to your flags? On what basis are flags retired? If they touch the ground? The slightest speck of dirt? Are they use once only? 300 at a time? I'm taken aback.

Ian

 

Most of them are quite ratty looking. A number of people will fly them all year and a winter of wind and summer of sun will rip and bleach most flags. The people that fly them from their trucks really annoy me because a constant 60-80mph wind will shred most flags. We live in a windy area in the winter and most flags are not outside all the time. I don't think mine is out for more than a week or two a year and I've had the same one for at least a decade. It's fine.

And a number that are retired are in fine shape. Honestly, a way to swap out "gently used" flags would make for a nice eagle project.

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On 5/29/2019 at 4:23 PM, MattR said:

And a number that are retired are in fine shape. Honestly, a way to swap out "gently used" flags would make for a nice eagle project.

In my time as the Scout Skills fella at CSDC,   I always found a need for a dozen or so USFlags of various sizes to teach the Cubs Flag Etiquette and vexilollogy.   The history of the USflag is always interesting.  Make contact with your County and State offices.  They will have county and state flags that are still usable for ceremonies and gifting to Packs and Troops.  

AND TOO.... you can make a Scout Camporee event with some old flags.       https://www.dropbox.com/s/dbxthcsx6330q22/FlagUSCampCompScore.docx?dl=0   

Read thru the instructions.  Make a study of WHY the Patrol of four wants to choose the BIG flag. And smile as they attempt to fold it in 40 mph winds..... rather than choose the sure thing of the smaller flag.   In more calm days I have seen a Patrol of four do a very good job of the big flag, where a Patrol of eight struggles to work together to accomplish the task.  Patriotism?  More a demonstration of working as a team, rather than individually. 

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Reasons to retire a flag...

It doesn’t represent the current States of the United States (48 or 49 stars, there are still a few around)

It’s frayed, or has been burnt partially, or has been stained such that the stain is visible after cleaning. 

Minimum to destroy

cut the Canton from the Field

place each part in the fire. 

Everything else, to one degree or another, is gilding the lily. 

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Mod note

This isn’t controversial moved to open discussion, program.

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On 6/2/2019 at 9:22 PM, John-in-KC said:

Mod note

This isn’t controversial moved to open discussion, program.

Thanks to packsaddle, NOW it can be controversial...

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On 6/2/2019 at 9:21 PM, John-in-KC said:

Reasons to retire a flag...

It doesn’t represent the current States of the United States (48 or 49 stars, there are still a few around)

It’s frayed, or has been burnt partially, or has been stained such that the stain is visible after cleaning. 

Minimum to destroy

cut the Canton from the Field

place each part in the fire. 

Everything else, to one degree or another, is gilding the lily. 

Why is cutting the canton part of the minimum?   As far as I am aware there is no prescribed method other than the fire part.  We never did it that way but were taught to fold the flag on to the fire whole.  

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I was taught cutting one from another makes it cease being a Flag, you are then destroying two pieces of cloth. 

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9 minutes ago, John-in-KC said:

I was taught cutting one from another makes it cease being a Flag, you are then destroying two pieces of cloth. 

I am not really trying to challenge, just curious.  Why do you want it to cease being a flag? Then you are destroying the flag by cutting and only burning two pieces of cloth.  

I find the traditions very interesting.  Without a specific prescribed ceremony different ones have been created with different meanings and logic.  

We were taught that the flag was burned as one piece because it remains a symbol of unity until its retirement.  We were taught to fold the flag in half then drop the stripes on the fire, then fold the flag over onto the fire so the canton remained up (because it stays up even during retirement). Fires were always started without accelerants and made of local materials only because retirement is done by the land which the flag represented.  (Our OA ceremony fires were always started without match or lighter). 

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I grew up in the 60s and 70s. Burning the flag was a protest. Retiring it meant making it cease to be a Flag, THEN properly destroying it. 

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Posted (edited)

Frequently, we separate the canton from the stripes and the stripes from each other. The symbolism is that the stripes (colonies) can be divided but the canton (union) should never be divided. If we have a large number of flags to retire, we might do this with just the first one and retire the others intact in a dignified way ...by burning as specified by Flag Code.

Can we start arguing about the proper way to conduct a flag ceremony now?

Edited by Saltface

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