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Disposal 'Mailbox' In Grapevine Makes Retiring American Flag Easy

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) - Worn, torn or tattered, the rules to properly disposing American flags don't fade.

And the Grapevine Fire Department is helping people do just that.

They can simply place their old flags inside a retired U.S. mailbox painted red, white and blue at Station 1 on Boyd Drive.

"It keeps people from doing the wrong thing, if you will. It's a correct place for them to bring a flag where it gets the proper recognition and respect that a flag deserves," said Andrew Torrence, Grapevine Fire Department.

Emblazoned with a golden Bald Eagle, the mailbox was designed for flags in need of a respectful disposal.

A Boy Scout Troupe will empty the box when it's full (usually about once a month) and host a burning ceremony.

The United States Flag Code outlines proper flag etiquette for everything from properly folding a flag to flying a flag correctly. It even describes in great detail how to retire an American flag respectfully.

"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," states the code. Thus, when a flag is tattered beyond repair, it's time for it to be retired.

There are several ways to respectfully dispose of the American flag without showing disgrace, according to the code. The most common method is burning it in a special ceremony.

Flag Retirement Ceremony

The Veterans Department of Affairs suggests starting by folding the flag in a customary triangle manner. Then prepare a large enough fire space to sufficiently burn the flag completely. Next place the flag in the fire and while it burns, individuals at the ceremony should salute or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Finally, end the ceremony with a moment of silence and bury the ashes once the flag is completely consumed.

Many groups that hold annual or semi-annual flag retirement ceremonies often have their own unique traditions they also follow. But these are the minimum steps everyone should at least follow when they retire an American Flag.

The box in Grapevine was the brain child of an Eagle Scout candidate in 2011.


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