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How Do You Retire a U.S. Flag?

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TWIN FALLS • Federal law specifies few details about how a U.S. flag should be retired.

The U.S. Flag Code says: “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.”

As such, while burning is the primary method of retiring an American flag, different ceremonies have evolved over time.

This June, a retirement ceremony for 7,000 flags in Chicago featured members of each branch of the armed forces cutting stars from the field of a flag, according to television coverage of the ceremony.

A 2008 report by the Congressional Research Service concluded, “It would seem that any procedure which is in good taste and shows no disrespect to the flag would be appropriate.”



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