Veterans, students retire tattered flags


The United States Flag code states that, “the flag, when in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

With the help of Colusa County Veterans, a drop box painted in patriotic colors provides Maxwell residents a way to deposit their old, and tattered American Flags for retirement. Similarly a drop box at the Colusa VFW Hall serves the same purpose.  

Each year Colusa County Veterans collect dozens of tattered American flags and the Maxwell American Legion performs a set of ceremonies to honor the tattered American flags in an honorable and peaceful manner.

Last Wednesday, the veterans group was joined by Maxwell school children where over 100 flags were retired. 

“We had two ceremonies for flag retirement,” said Ron Azevedo of the Maxwell American Legion. “We properly retired approximately 110 flags within the two days.” 

The High School students played a role in the ceremony this year with several students assisting the veterans fold the larger flags to be burned.

Before the flags can be burned, students were instructed on how to properly fold the flag and then a Legion member would place each flag in the center of the fire, allowing it to completely burn. As each flag was retired a salute was given. 

Proper flag etiquette not only applies to the retirement of the American Flag, but for proper display. 

Respect for the Flag

The Flag Code was adopted to protect our nation’s symbol of freedom and accomplishment of those who have served. If you are unfamiliar with the rules of the banner, it’s possible to be unintentionally disrespectful.

Learn the basics from Chapter 4 U.S.C 8, to understand how to honor the flag, per the Government Publishing Office.

• The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

• The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.

• The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

• The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery.

• The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way.

• The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.

• The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, word, figure, design, picture or any drawing of any nature.

• The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything.

• The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like.

• No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform; However, a patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen and members of patriotic organizations.

• 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. ■