How and when to retire an American flag

Local VFW posts are great place to drop off worn, torn or frayed American flags. The posts all have a flag disposal bin either outside or in the lobby. 

The Ruskin Memorial VFW Post 6287 takes in a remarkable 10,000 flags a year. They retire the flags in a ceremony which includes local members of the Young Marines. After folding one flag, which symbolizes all others, they place it into a bin and light it on fire. Burning is the preferred method of disposal in the United States flag manual.

The harsh Florida weather can take its toll on flags. 

"Often we get flags that are light blue and pink," offered Brian Frank, Ph.D, a Post 6287 member who directs the flag retirement ceremony. "At some point people have to look at the flag and say, ‘This flag doesn’t properly represent our country.’"  

Frank says as soon as it starts to fray or fade a little bit, it’s probably time to get a new one.