Few things get under my skin more so than seeing an American flag in disrepair. I was at a funeral last month and the flags that had been placed at the graves in the cemetery were so worn that I couldn't help myself- I brought it up to the caretaker. I don't know if anything was done, but I just couldn't sit back and not say anything.

If you've got a flag that's not in the best shape, now might be a good time to brush up on the proper way to dispose of an American Flag that can't or shouldn't be flown.

The United States Flag Code (4 USC Sec 8 Para (k) Amended 7 July 1976) 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, preferably by burning."  Burning isn't the only way to dispose of a flag, though.

Here are three ways you can dispose of your worn or damaged flag with the respect that it deserves.

  • 1

    Flag Burning

    According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the first thing you should do is fold the flag and do so properly. If you’re not sure how to fold a flag, you can get step by step directions here. Once you’ve properly folded your flag, make a fire that’s big enough to ensure that your flag will completely burn. When your fire is ready, respectfully place your folded flag on top of it. If you want, you can have a moment of silence or say the Pledge of Allegiance. After the flag has completely burned, the fire needs to be safely and completely extinguished. Collect the ashes and then bury them.

  • 2

    Flag Burial

  • 3

    Flag Donation

    There's a wonderful flag company outside of Albany, NY called Gettysburg Flag Works and they collect American-made flags, the ones with embroidered stars. The stars are carefully cut out and sent to troops who are serving our country. The company will then properly dispose of the other parts of the flag.