Flag Retirement Ceremony

     When the United States flag becomes worn, torn, faded or badly soiled, it is time to replace it with a new flag, and the old flag should be "retired" with all the dignity and respect befitting our nation's flag. The traditional method of retirement is to incinerate the flag, but this does not mean that one should simply drop the entire flag (intact) into a fire. We are not burning a flag, we are retiring a symbol of America's honor, courage, and strength.

     A flag ceases to be a flag when it is cut into pieces. A flag should never be torn up like an old bed sheet. It should be cut up with scissors or shears in a methodical manner.

     The U.S. flag is more than just some brightly colored cloth... it is a symbol of our nation.

     Seven red stripes and six white stripes; together represent the original 13 colonies that gained us liberty. The red stripes remind us of the lifeblood of brave men and women who were ready to die for this, their country.

     The white stripes remind us of purity and cleanliness of purpose, thought, word and deed. The blue is for truth and justice, like the eternal blue of the star-filled heavens.

     The stars represent the fifty sovereign states of our union. The American Creed states, "it is my duty to my country to love it, to respect its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."

     The U.S. flag should be treated with respect when it's flying, and should be treated with respect when it's being retired.

     Therefore, we retire flags with dignity and respect when they become worn, torn, faded, or badly soiled. A flag ceases to be a flag when it is cut into pieces.

     Note - VFW Post 3258 conducts a flag retirement ceremony once a year.



Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your Flag, the Flag of the United States of America... Something has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you... because it is about you and me.

I remember some time ago people lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade and naturally I was leading every parade, proudly waving in the breeze, when your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so his hand was directly over his heart...remember?

And you, I remember you. Standing there straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat, but you were giving the right salute. Remember little sister? Not to be outdone she was saluting the same as you with her right hand over her heart...remember?

What happened? I'm still the same old Flag. Oh, I have a few more Stars since you where a boy. A lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago.

But now I don't feel as proud as I used to. When I come down the street you just stand there with your hands in your pockets and I may get a small glance and then you look away. Then I see the children running around and shouting...they don't seem to know who I am...I saw one man take his hat off, then look around, he didn't see anyone else with theirs off so he quickly put his back on.

Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I've been?...Anzio, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and now Iraq and Afghanistan . Take a look at the Memorial Honor Rolls sometimes, of those who never came back to keep this Republic free... One Nation Under God...when you salute me, you are actually saluting them.

Well, it won't be long until I'll be coming down the street again. So when you see me, stand straight, place your right hand over your heart...and I'll salute you, waving back...and I'll know that...