City of Weston Facilitates Proper Flag Disposal Service

American flag hanging from the wall of a house

As we celebrate our nation’s independence this month, many families display their patriotic pride by flying the American flag. But what do you do with a flag that is worn, torn, soiled, or otherwise no longer fit to respectfully serve as a symbol of our country? While you cannot throw it out, an old flag can be retired and disposed of properly at the Weston Community Center.

Director of Parks and Recreation Don Decker says the City of Weston started this flag disposal service last fall at the request of Commissioner Mary Molina-Macfie, who co-founded the Veterans of Weston.

“The Veterans of Weston wanted to ensure our flag was treated with the respect it deserves,” explains Commissioner Molina-Macfie. “Many have fought and died under our flag for the freedoms we all enjoy. We hang the American flag proudly and the thought of throwing in it in the garbage is disrespectful and unpatriotic. We feel it is worse to hang a tattered or damaged flag then to dispose of it, properly, which is now easy in the City of Weston.”

A flag disposal drop-off box is located inside the Weston Community Center, which is in Weston Regional Park. Residents should respectfully fold the worn or damaged flag into triangles and drop it off during regular business hours. Any size cloth U.S. flag will be accepted. The flags are then turned over to a local Boy Scout troop for proper retirement, which typically consists of a ceremonial burning.

“Boy Scouts consider the burning of an old flag the most ceremonial and solemn way of retiring it. The worn flags are retired on a modest but blazing fire, so they are reduced to ashes, making them no longer recognizable,” states Decker. “This is in keeping with the U.S. Flag Code.”

The U.S. Flag Code (4 USC Sec 8 Para (k) Amended 7 July 1976) dictates that a flag should be destroyed “when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display”. This includes the flag becoming tattered or overly worn or sun-bleached. The same section of the Flag Code states that the flag “should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning”.