Infographic: How to Retire the American Flag

According to the Flag Code, when the condition of a flag makes it unsuitable for service it should be retired with dignity.  The flag might be worn, torn, faded or otherwise damaged. Holding a flag retirement ceremony is an excellent way to teach youth about how to care for flags with respect.

Younger Scouts especially may be under the impression that disposing of a flag by burning is disrespectful. Take some time beforehand to explain what will happen and why. A short discussion before you begin will help them understand why retiring a worn flag in this manner is appropriate.  You might even want to consider saving the grommets as a token of respect also.

This graphic below , which will help you explain how to retire a flag, was created by A Stars & Strips Flag corporation . Visit their site for more information.

4 Responses to Infographic: How to Retire the American Flag

  1. Robbie @ Use Resources Wisely August 8, 2016 at 12:30 PM #

    Flag retirements are one of my favorite parts of camp weeks. Thank you for this breakdown!

  2. Sean August 29, 2016 at 11:42 AM #

    This is great. There are so many myths about retiring a flag and a lot of people get very offended if you don’t do it ‘right,’ which in my fairly extensive flag-retiring experience, is usually not the ‘right way.’ The first thing I tell Cubmasters who ask how to retire a flag is to say “don’t listen to people who say you have to do it a very specific way.” I appreciate the emphasis this article puts on the simply doing it respectfully and in a dignified manner. If you keep that in your forefront, you will retire the flag correctly and your Scouts and their families will have a unique, moving, patriotic experience.

  3. Willie January 2, 2018 at 8:21 PM #

    what to do with a flag they fly at night (24/7) when it rains and strong winds


  4. Dan the Den Leader January 10, 2018 at 5:23 PM #

    I’m not sure I understand your question, Willie.

    A flag flown at night should always be illuminated (that is, have lights shining on it) when it is dark.

    If the flag is likely to be damaged by extreme weather, it’s a good idea to take it down before the storm hits.

    If a flag has been damaged in a storm, it should be retired.

    Does this help?

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