Flag Disposal and Flag Retirement Information


Flag Retirement Ceremony 
We get hundreds of emails requesting information about proper disposal and flag retirement ceremonies for the American flag. The U.S. Flag Code states, "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".


All of the major veterans organizations, the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America have their own ceremonial renditions. Those ceremonies can be located via their respective websites. Because locating suitable disposal facilities or disposal organizations can be a daunting task;

We gladly accept your flags for retirement and proper disposal.

An individual, small group or organization can dispose of an American flag as long as the ceremony is respectful and relatively private proceeding (invited guests). This disposal ceremony should not be a dog and pony show especially with local officials or politicians that use this somber occasion as an opportunity to be seen and heard by the public.

I have included below the ceremonial guidelines for which we conduct our flag disposal/burning ceremonies. We always include an empty chair as a "Place of Honor" for those lovers of Old Glory who have passed on, or, are too infirm to attend.

The Flag Keepers Flag Retirement Ceremony



(Include a chaplain/prayer per your tradition)


"We are gathered here to destroy these flags that have been deemed no longer serviceable. It is proclaimed that each of these flags has served well.


These flags have inspired those who desired the taste of freedom and have represented hope to those oppressed by tyranny and terror. These flags have welcomed any and all in the name of liberty.


The American flag flies free to the wind. The American flag flies above residential porches, camp sites, small businesses, corporate offices, hospitals, schools, military and naval bases, government buildings and nonprofit organizations. The American flag is the most displayed and recognized banner in the world.


These flags serve as constant reminders to all of us that we live in a country where our freedom has been deeply purchased by blood, sweat, tears and ultimate sacrifice. We must not forsake what those in the service to this flag, and their families, have forfeited.


We have here this day an empty Place of Honor for those who cannot attend due to devastating injury, infirmity, and death.


Please direct your attention to the Place of Honor as I read today’s names of ___ (fill in the number) of those patriots. In your mind’s eye see these people and think about them."


To all who shall see these presents, greeting. Know ye that these flags have served well and honorably. Their stars and stripes have been loosed to the winds of freedom and have basked in the light of liberty."




"Please join me to recite the Pledge of Allegiance": (PAUSE) "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all".




Read, “The U.S. Flag Code states”, (PAUSE) "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".


(OPTIONAL) Dedicate this ceremony to an individual American who loved the Flag (Read previously obtained info about the honoree)




Staff member inserts one properly folded flag into the incinerator/fire


Sing or recite the first stanza of God Bless America


"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that^s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer."

God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home.
God bless America, my home sweet home.




STAFF MEMBER OR CEREMONY LEADER “Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the ceremony. God bless America.”


When guests have departed, staff members and volunteers burn the remaining flags

Send e-mail to: admin@flagkeepers.org

The Flag Keepers

636 NC HWY 24/27 Bypass East

Suite 5 Box# 183

Albemarle NC, 28001

Copyright © 2003-2015 Flag Keepers, Inc.

Flag Retirement, American Flag, Tattered American Flag Reporting and American Flag Disposal Service