Flag Retirement 2 Ceremony
This Ceremony is meant for Boy Scouts.
When the United States flag becomes worn, torn, faded or badly soiled, it is time to replace it. The old flag should be retired in the traditional manner of incineration.
Start a hot, blazing fire large enough to completely consume the flag, but not so large that scouts can not reach over the center of it.
Leader: The U.S. flag is more than just some brightly colored cloth; it is a symbol of our nation. This flag has been displayed with pride for many years and has become worn and no longer usable. A new flag has taken its place and we will now retire this flag with respect.
In order to completely destroy the flag, we will burn it. This ensures that no bit of flag exists when we finish.
Four scouts each hold a corner of the flag. The Leader uses the scissors to cut the flag in half vertically, right along the edge of the blue field of stars. Then, cut each half in half horizontally, keeping the blue field one piece. Use a scissors to cut the flag cleanly and quickly.
Scout #1 places his flag section into the center of the fire.
Scout #1: Seven red stripes and six white strips; together they represent the original 13 colonies that gained us liberty.
Scout #2 approaches fire.
Scout #2: The red stripes remind us of the lifeblood of brave men and women who were ready and willing to die for their country.
Scout #3: The white stripes remind us of purity and cleanliness of purpose, thought, word and deed.
Scout #4 has the blue field and goes last.
Scout #4: The blue is for truth and justice, like the eternal blue of the star-filled heavens. The stars represent the fifty united states of our union. We leave the blue field intact because no one should ever let the union be broken.
Leader: The aims of scouting are character, citizenship, and fitness. The American's Creed, which is the official creed of the United States, was written in 1917 and says a lot about what "citizenship" means:
I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.
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Dec 16, 2012 - Michael Cardinale
I like the words used, but you should not cut the flag before you retire it. The metal grommets should be discarded and that's all the cutting you should do. The Flag of our nation should be treated with respect before and during retirement. The Flag after it is consumed by fire, the ashes should be collected and properly buried.
Dec 16, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Michael - Many different flag disposal ceremonies are completely fine. It is fine to cut the flag as part of its retirement. It is fine to retrieve the metal grommets from the ashes after burning and return them to the flag owner as a memento, if they prefer. There is no requirement to dispose of the ashes in any particular manner.
The U.S. Flag Code states this about disposing of flags: When a flag is so tattered that it can no longer serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.
As long as the retirement is respectful, it is fine. With new synthetic flag materials, it is becoming more common to recycle them rather than burn them, and that is an acceptable disposal method.
If you come across documentation to the contrary, please feel free to share it.
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