Retiring the American Flag with Dignity

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Provided by Prince William County Solid Waste Management

Flag Day is on June 14. Prince William County is encouraging residents to respectfully retire their worn and tattered American flags by bringing them to the American Flag Collection Centers located at the County’s disposal facilities free of charge.

Disposal facilities include the County Landfill and Compost Facility, which are open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents also have the option to retire flags themselves.

All American Flags flying at a home or business in the County that are found to be faded, torn, tattered, or frayed should be retired and replaced in accordance with the U.S. Flag Code. The code states that if the flag is determined to be in such conditions, it is no longer suitable for display and should be destroyed in a dignified way—preferably through burning.

Those who choose to retire the American flag at a disposal facility can rest assured the County will dispose of the flag dignifiedly through a decade-long partnership established between the Solid Waste Division and Boy Scouts of America Prince William District.

“Respect for the American flag was the impetus the local Boy Scouts’ district used to provide the flag disposal service, and we are glad to support their efforts,” said Deborah Campbell, SWMD Communications Analyst.

The Boy Scouts have a longstanding tradition of collecting American flags brought to the County Landfill or Compost Facility and burning them in public or private ceremonies to honor the faded glory of every Star-Spangled Banner.

Private ceremonies are typically conducted at the Covanta waste-to-energy facility in Fairfax. Here, the burning of the flags not only honors their service but also helps, in part, produce renewable energy for 80,000 homes daily. This is a powerful reminder of how flags can continue to serve the community even in retirement.

For more information about the County’s American Flag Collection Center, visit bit.ly/American-Flag-Collection-Centers. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Solid Waste Division at pwcrecycles@pwcgov.org or (703) 792-5750.

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