Honoring National Flag Day, guidance for proper flag display and disposal

Honoring National Flag Day, guidance for proper flag display and disposal

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Patricia Hammon, RN

Veterans Service Officer



June 8, 2023 - June 14 is National Flag Day, commemorating the adoption of our national flag in 1777. The flag is steeped in symbolism. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress explained the meaning of the flag’s colors, “white signifies purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; and blue, the colour of the chief signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.”

“The flag is such a potent symbol of our nation’s history and spirit,” said Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr. “It traces the expansion of our nation from 13 colonies to 50 states and it reminds us that what unites us is greater than what divides us.”  

The U.S. Flag Code details the rules concerning the flag of the United States including appearance, display, and destruction. 

Basic rules for display

  • When hanging the flag either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union (blue section) should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right or the observer’s left; this also applies to hanging the flag in a window when viewed from the outside. 
  • The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when displayed with flags of states, localities, or pennants of societies.  
  • When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International use forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace. 
  • The order of precedence for flags generally is national flags (U.S. first, then others in alphabetical order in English), state (host state first, then others in the order of admission) and territories (Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, etc.). 

Rules for disposal

“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,” (U.S. Flag Code section 8.(k)). Burning was the preferred method of disposal when flags were made of cotton. However, many flags are now made from synthetic materials which extend flag life, but emit toxic fumes when burned. 

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that flags are surrendered to organizations with established protocols for flag disposal. Individuals may leave flags at the security desk in the Eagle County government building, 500 Broadway St., Eagle, Colorado. Pat Hammon, Eagle County’s Veteran Services Officer will deliver the cotton flags to local boy scout troops and synthetic flags to the Grand Junction American Legion for disposal. 

Alternatively, contact the American Legion directly for the nearest post that currently accepts retired flags. 

For more information contact Pat Hammon, Eagle County Veteran Services Officer, pat.hammon@eaglecounty.us

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