How to Store an American Flag

American Flagphoto © 2009 Kaleb Tittle | more info (via: Wylio)
Whether you know it or not, today is Flag Day! June 14th, 1777 was the day that the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the flag of the United States. National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress in August of 1949 and has been observed on June 14th, with the flying of flags, various parades and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance since then.

Though the way that it’s silk-screened onto bikinis and airbrushed onto motorcycles might suggest that you can do whatever you want with an American Flag, treating your flag with respect is not only patriotic, it’s also a good way make sure your flag lasts a long time and can even be passed down.

You’ve probably seen American Flags folded carefully into a triangle, with only the blue field and white stars showing. This is not part of the official Flag Code, but it is military custom for flag storage. However, this method of folding is most useful for flags that are used regularly. So if you are putting your flag away at night and going to put it back up in the morning, this is the best way to keep it. If you don’t know how to do this fold, there are a lot of tutorials online and even YouTube video instructions.

But if you’re like the majority of Americans, you probably don’t fly your family flag every day and if you keep your flag folded tightly like this for a long period of time, your flag is in danger of being permanently creased. In this case, it’s better to store your flag completely flat or to roll the flag and store it in a storage tube made of acid-free material (not cardboard or wood, both of which can cause damage). Alternatively, you can use a cardboard or wooden tube or box but keep the flag from coming in to contact with the acidic materials by packing it in unbleached cotton or acid-free tissue paper and making sure something neutral is between the flag and the offending material.

If you don’t use your flag often, or if you have an heirloom flag that you want to keep safe and intact but don’t fly at your home daily, a storage unit can be the ideal place to keep a flag. In a tube, box or drawer, your flag will stay cool and dry preventing damage from mildew or pests that can exist in attics or garages where you might otherwise keep your flag.

Sooner or later, your flag may become irreperably damaged and need to be disposed of. Throwing it in the garbage might seem like the easiest solution, but a respectful burning is actually the preferred method of flag disposal. If you don’t have the means to have your own respectful burning, or just don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, the American Legion often has flag ceremonies that include a respectful disposal of unuseable flags. You can find the one nearest you on their website.

How will you be celebrating Flag Day?

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