Thursday, May 15, 2008

Facing Jail Time?

We have two American flags hanging off the front porch and one of them has become tattered and torn and when the wind blows it gets caught on the house. So while I pick up some new flowers to plant yesterday I decide to grab a new flag. It looks great, nice new flag swaying the breeze. As I take down the old flag something occurs to me, I can't just through this away, right? I realize that there must be some kind of ritual to dispose of a tattered flag. I ask Matt and he say's "I think you burn it" to which I reply "yeah right, we'll go to hell or something if we burn it" So we call the master of knowledge, Papa Dan. Papa Dan knows everything. If you have a random question that you can imagine where to begin (before the Internet of course) Papa Dan is the person to call. Why didn't he make the cut for Jeopardy So while I'm on the phone with Dan, Matt is searching the Internet. Dan say's, it needs to be given to the American Legion and they'll dispose of it properly. And this is what we find on the Internet.....a step by step guide:

  1. Understand the law. If you don’t properly dispose of the American flag properly, you could be breaking federal law and be liable for fines and, in rare cases, imprisonment.
  2. Follow custom. Burning a tattered American flag is the preferred method of disposal according to The Flag Code approved by Public Law 829 on December 22, 1942 by the 77th Congress, 2nd Session.
  3. Contact a local veterans or scouting organization to see if they accept flags for proper disposal. Many groups hold annual flag burning ceremonies on June 14, Flag Day.
  4. Create your own flag burning disposal ceremony as long as you obey the law. The ceremony must be a respectful, private occasion, not a public display.
  5. Contact the National Flag Foundation, local scout or veterans groups for recommended flag retirement and burning ceremonies if you wish to conduct your own.
  6. Mail your tattered flag to an organization, such as Flag Keepers, for proper disposal.

WOW, who'd have known it would be such a project. I mean, I figured it would be a sin to just toss it in the trash, but a CRIME?! Yikes. Good news is, Flag Day ( My birthday) has a new meaning to me! So, this year when I turn (ahem 30) we will be at the Tom Petty concert and somewhere my flag will be burning at the American Legion and I'll be dodging going to the clink for properly disposing of the American Flag! Happy Flag Day to me!

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