U.S. Flags Aren't Thrown Away, They're Burned

News19's Lana Harris shows a Boy Scout group who is making sure the United States' flag is retired properly.

Irmo, SC (WLTX) - Just as we salute our flag as a sign of respect, there's a proper way to retire a flag once it's old, worn, an tattered. 

Over time, the bold red, white, and blue colors of our nation's flag become faded.

"If they're outside for a long period of time they degrade due to solar bleaching, and become tattered just from flapping in the breeze," said Earl Wells, Scout Master of Troop 410.

Wells says, that's when it's time for the flag to be retired.

"It's disrespectful to continue to show that flag and have it flying as a representation of our country," Wells said.

To discard a flag properly, it isn't thrown away or tossed aside. It's ceremoniously cut and burned.

"Includes separating the blue field from the flag, and then separating each individual stripe," Wells said.

Three different boys scout groups got together to give over 100 U.S. and state flags a proper goodbye.

"We teach our scouts the symbols that represent us and how to take care of them," Wells said.

It's a lesson scout Luke Reeves takes seriously.

"When retiring the flag, you need a lot of respect," Reeves said.

Parents say, they were proud to see it.

"I think it's a wonderful thing that the scouts are doing it's a very solemn ceremony and a way to show great for our flag and country," said parent Marcia Lindsay.

If you have a flag that needs to be retired.. you can contact your local boy scouts or American Legion organization.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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