How to Retire a US Flag Properly

How to Retire a US Flag Properly

Flag Retirement

How to Retire a US Flag

Flag Retirement becomes necessary when the United States flag becomes worn, torn, repaired to the point that the flag makes a square, is faded or badly soiled. It then is time to replace that flag with a new flag. The old flag should be "retired" with all the dignity and respect befitting our nation's flag.

When is it better to repair your flag or retire it? This video shows you what to look for to decide what will be most cost effective and best for your situation.

The traditional method of Flag Retirement is to incinerate the flag, but this does not mean that one should simply drop the entire flag (intact) into a fire.

A flag ceases to be a flag when it is cut into pieces. In addition, it is easier to completely incinerate the flag, if it is cut into a lot of smaller pieces. A flag should never be torn up like an old 'bed sheet.' The flag should be cut up with scissors or shears in a methodical manner. The corners of the flag should be stretched out over a table top and someone should cut the flag in half, vertically (be careful not to cut up the blue star field (see the figure). Then, place the two halves together and cut them in half, horizontally. You will end up with four pieces of flag, one being the blue star field.



The reason we do not cut the blue star field is it represents the union of the fifty states and one should never let the union be broken.


Before accepting a flag for flag retirement, the recipient should obtain information about its history. For example: where has the flag flown? How long did the flag fly for? Did any memorable events happen at that site? This information should be used in the flag retirement ceremony.

Colonial Flag can retire your flag for you. Call us toll-free at 800-782-0500 for more information on Flag Retirement. For US Flags and Accessories click here.