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Editorial: Proper Flag Disposal

I have been asked several times by residents recently about what to do with worn and tattered American flags. Naturally, when a flag is flown and used enough it will become torn, faded or worn. Flying an American flag in any of these conditions is unacceptable and disrespectful. Never put an American flag in the garbage; the only appropriate thing to do with it is a proper disposal.

Believe it or not, there is a whole protocol, an official U.S. Flag Code to abide by for flying, using, or discarding a flag. While the U.S. has a code for the flag, it is only a guide on how to handle and use the flag. Each state has its own flag laws.

In addition to your own flags, look up once in a while; take notice of the flag that may be flying at the school, somewhere around town, a local business, or at your own work place. Be proud, not afraid, to call attention to the mal-condition of a flag so that it may be appropriately disposed of.

A brief summary of flag etiquette and disposal can be found at

Since proper flag disposal requires a significant, controlled fire according to fire codes and ordinances, the safest and easiest solution is to bring it to your American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post for a proper military disposal. There is a converted postal mailbox, painted red, white and blue that sits outside of VFW 516’s post at 635 Main Street. Simply drop it into the mailbox. It will be collected by a post member when an official flag disposal ceremony is scheduled, almost always on Flag Day, and then again as needed throughout the year. For more information call the Farmingdale VFW post at (516) 293-4645.

— CH