By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks/Lehigh)
My district office will now accept old or unused American flags for proper and respectful disposal. As Veterans Day is rapidly approaching, it is important to remember all the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country, and it is important that we respect the American flag in their honor.
The flag drop-off box will be in my district office’s main foyer located at the Lower Macungie Township Building, 3402 Brookside Road, Macungie, PA, 18062. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (except holidays).
The U.S Flag Code states that “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be retired in a respectful manner.”
The code suggests a few ways to respectfully dispose of the American flag. First, it can be taken to a community disposal box like the one at my district office. The flag will then be handed over to the proper group which will conduct a respectful ceremony to retire the flag.
Second, the American flag can be disposed of in a burning ceremony. If you conduct a flag burning ceremony at your home or other private location, please be mindful of the material of the flag and local fire ordinances. Some materials may emit toxins if openly burned.
Begin the flag burning ceremony by folding the whole flag in the customary manner. Next, start a fire large enough to completely burn the flag and respectfully place the flag into the fire. The flag should not touch the ground in the process.
As the flag begins to burn, salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and pause for a moment of silence. The flag should be thoroughly burned so that nothing besides the ashes is left. Finally, bury the ashes.
The U.S. Flag Code says that burning is the preferred method to dispose of a flag. However, another disposal option is flag burial. If you choose this method, place the folded flag in a dignified wooden box and pause for a moment of silence after burying the flag box in the ground.
The last option for disposing of a flag is to recycle it. Some flag companies will accept old flags and use the material to make new ones.
If you have any questions on the disposal of old American flags, or need help with any state-related matters, please call my district office at 610-965-9933.
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
134th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs