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Flag retirement ceremonies

Flag retirement ceremony

Flag Retirement Ceremony conducted by VFW Post 8573 in Sattler, Texas.

Flag retirement ceremonies are most often conducted by veterans organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, or the Boy Scouts. But of course, any group or individual can retire a flag. The whole point of retiring a flag is a proper and honorable disposal.

I wonder if any of The Daily Flag readers ever witnessed or participated in a military retirement ceremony? I am sure that each of the services would have well-documented procedures for flag retirement. However, I can’t help thinking that there would be a long list of names of military personnel who would want a flag from the base, post, or ship where they served, even if the flags were no longer suitable for flying.

(Hold that thought while I telephone my favorite veteran to ask … He said “yes,” and in hindsight he perhaps would have liked a keepsake flag that flew where he served, but replacing a tattered flag was never a part of his job so the flags did not pass through his hands, and he simply never thought about it at the time.)

My request

Where I am going with this: I would like for readers of The Daily Flag to send us notes and photos from flag retirement ceremonies they have observed or participated in. My idea is to create a reference tool with ideas and suggestions for others. I would especially like to see how fire pits or free standing fire stands were constructed.

Along with the good ideas, there logically must be a list of bad ideas. For example: If there were a lot of flags to dispose of, in a too small a receptacle (or under-fueled), it would take a long time. Or maybe events when too much “accelerant” was used. These occasions need to be shared, too, if we are to learn. But I promise to be diplomatic, discreet, and circumspect if it was a disaster.

Send your information or photos to Deborah “at”

1 thought on “Flag retirement ceremonies

  1. Hi,
    I stumbled across your article about flag retirement. I am a Boy Scout and working toward Eagle rank. I plan to build a fire pit to be used for the sole purpose of retiring flags. I am doing this for the town. Each year, my town collects flags to be retired and has a large ceremony on Flag Day. Currently, they use a 50 gallon barrel. I would like to build a dignified fire pit that will last for many years.

    If you can forward me anything you may have received from others, regarding the construction of such a pit, I would greatly appreciate the information. I would like to build a stone pit, but I am confused about drainage, and providing a product that can be cleaned out. Is a grill needed under the fire to provide air flow? What material should I use inside the pit, since most decorative stone can’t hold up to high heat?

    Thank you in advance for any information you can forward me.
    Zack Biondo

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