By Becky Maxedon
Anyone who has ever taken a drive around Lake Havasu City cannot help but notice the extraordinary display of patriotism illustrated by all the American Flags flying in front yards, at office buildings, schools and more.
And occasionally, the slightly tattered, well loved, worn flag can be seen. There are some specific rules that serve to help with the retirement of the adored flags.
The United States Flag Code outlines proper flag etiquette for everything from properly folding a flag, to flying it and how to retire an American Flag.
The code states that, “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” Thus, when a flag is torn and tattered beyond repair, it is time for it to be retired.
When an American flag becomes worn, faded, torn or soiled, it should be retired and replaced with a new flag. There are several ways to respectfully dispose of the American Flag without showing disgrace. The most common method is burning the torn or tattered flag in a special ceremony.
The Veterans Department of Affairs suggests starting by folding the flag in a customary triangle manner. Then prepare a large enough fire space to sufficiently burn the flag completely. Next place the flag in the fire and while it burns, individuals at the ceremony should salute or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Finally, end the ceremony with a moment of silence and bury the ashes once the flag is completely consumed.
Many groups that hold annual or semi-annual flag retirement ceremonies often have their own unique traditions they also follow. But these are the minimum steps everyone should at least follow when they retire an American Flag.
Retired American Flags in Lake Havasu City can be deposited in the collection box in the VFW Post 9401 Entryway, 266 London Bridge Road. There is also a collection site at the Lake Havasu City Elks Lodge parking lot at 3532 McCulloch Blvd.
Flag retirement ceremonies are usually performed by the VFW on Veterans Day each year. For more information, check with the local post at 928-855-5374. The post is currently closed until July 31.