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A proper disposal

Although today is Flag Day and as such is supposed to be a day of showing off the American flag, a few flags may be ready for their retirement.

Out of showing respect for the flag and what it represents, many Boy Scout troops will hold flag burning ceremonies today to retire some of their old, tattered flags that have served their purpose. To honor the flag and its history, the scouts follow very specific steps to make sure that they fully show their gratitude towards the flag before it is burned.

“This is a ceremony that started hundreds of years ago. People used to do this to help show the public exactly what they are being thankful for when they look at a flag and to let them know that they shouldn’t just throw a flag away when it becomes to dirty or tattered,” said Bill Morgan, director of South Central Alabama Boy Scouts.

The United States Flag Code states, “The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferable by burning.”

Anyone wanting to retire a flag can do it in a respectful manner by following simple guidelines.

The first step would be to cut the flag into sections, which include a section of stripes, a section of blue background and a section of the white stars.

Then after lighting a fire slowly, announce and understand what each of the pieces that you hold stand for before tossing them into the fire.

“This is only done to the first flag that is to be retired, if there are more than one,” Morgan said.

When following these steps to burn an old flag, you are showing your own patriotism to the country and the men and women who have fought for the right to have the American flag.