The U.S. Flag Code suggests retiring damaged or worn U.S. flags in “a dignified way, preferably by burning.” The Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion and Scouts often offer assistance in flag disposal, collecting used flags and ending their service at public events. “If you can’t drop [your used flag] off with one of the aforementioned groups, you can do your own small ceremony — as long as it’s still held in a dignified manner,” says the U.S. Department of Defense. Fold the flag into its customary tucked triangle and build a fire big enough to fully incinerate it. Place the flag on the fire, salute and hold a moment of silence. #FlagDay
In addition to adorning countless homes, facilities and businesses for Flag Day, Independence Day and other holidays, American flags have been planted in plenty of unusual places such as the North Pole, South Pole and Mount Everest. Thanks to a 1989 Supreme Court decision, stars-and-stripes designs also appear on countless articles of clothing, advertisements and even foodstuffs. The farthest-flung flags ever planted, however, are the six left by the manned moon missions of the Apollo era. They are now deteriorating and likely completely white, having been bleached by unfiltered ultraviolet light. #FlagDay
The layout of the U.S. flag wasn’t codified until 1912, so flags dating before this period sometimes show odd proportions and unusual arrangements of the stars, the Smithsonian says, but most flag makers used straight rows of stars and similar proportions. While Flag Day has been celebrated since 1885, the U.S. Flag Code was published on June 14, 1923 to help establish a set of rules for civilian flag ceremonies, display and maintenance. While 1989’s Texas v. Johnson declared flag federal anti-desecration laws unconstitutional, most people continue to follow recommendations on treating the American flag with respect. #FlagDay
Long credited for designing and sewing the first U.S. flag, Philadelphia upholsterer Betsy Ross probably didn’t have anything to do it, says Reader’s Digest. Grandson William Canby appears to have invented that account, presenting it to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870. That first official design included 13 stripes for the original 13 states, but when Vermont and Kentucky joined the Union, a new flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes debuted — and that’s the version that was immortalized in Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner.” Later designs returned to the original 13 stripes and added stars for new states. #FlagDay
Not only is June 14 the day that the Continental Congress voted to adopt a new #flag for the newly formed United States in1777, History says, it was also the day that enlistment in the Continental Army was authorized two years earlier, making it the birthday of the U.S. Army. If you would like to support the nation’s #veterans this Flag Day, simply gather up some of your unused stuff and visit ClothingDonations.org to schedule a free #donation #pickup.