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How To Correctly Retire an American Flag

Posted by Accent Banner on Nov 13, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Are you flying the American flag as part of your Independence Day celebration? If you haven't checked your flag to make sure it's in good repair, now's the perfect time to take it out of storage and give it a good look. Flags that are damaged should be repaired under the United States Flag Code, a comprehensive piece of the full U.S. Code that describes proper interaction with this great symbol of our nation.

And if your flag cannot be repaired, or it is stained or damaged and you don't have the resources to get it fixed, you should never just throw the flag in the trash. There's a proper method for "retiring" the American flag. According to the U.S. Flag Code, it needs to be disposed of in a dignified way, "preferably by burning." That's right. . . burning.


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Retiring the U.S. Flag By Burning 

If you are retiring a flag by burning, the Flag Code doesn't give you many details on exactly how to do this. You'll have to turn to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), an organization that advocates for U.S. Veterans and issues that matter to veterans like proper treatment of the flag, for further instruction.

The VFW has a suggested procedure for retiring a U.S. flag:

  1. Fold the flag properly. There is a procedure for folding the flag into a triangle for storing it so that it will never touch the floor or ground. This should be done with two people to ensure the flag is not dropped or damaged.
  2. Place the flag on a dedicated fire. While technically, any fire can be used, there's something about using a campfire or fire for burning refuse that doesn't meet the requirements for respectful disposal.
  3. Everyone in attendance should salute or place their hands over their hearts and at least one person present should say the Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. Remain silent for a brief time while the flag is completely burned.
  5. Extinguish the fire carefully according to local fire codes.

If you aren't up for the task yourself, or you're not sure you can give the flag the required respect, the VFW as well as other veterans groups and the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts can also take flags for proper disposal in a retirement ceremony. 

Another reason to rely on the experts: Many of today's flags are made out of synthetic fibers that don't burn like cotton. It may be beneficial to let the experts burn your flag so you aren't exposed to any harmful fumes that may be let off while burning.


Other Methods of Retiring the U.S. Flag    

There are other ways to properly -- and respectfully -- retire a flag besides burning. The flag can be:

  • Buried. Use a respectful wooden box that tightly seals around the flag. Fold the flag properly and bury it underground. You may even decide to use a patriotic marker over the burial location.
  • Shredded. It may not sound as proper, but a flag can be respectfully shredded using sharp scissors. However, once you've shredded the flag, the pieces should be burned or buried.
  • Recycled. Specific organizations, like American Flag Recycling can take your nylon flag for proper disposal so that it doesn't release hazardous gases when it burns.

Of course, once you've properly and respectfully retired your American flag, you'll want to replace it with a new and intact symbol of our nation. We can help you find the best flag for your needs. And, we're there to help with any other types of custom, historical, national or state flags you may need.

. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help!

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Topics: flags, retiring a flag

Flag Facts: Fun Facts about Pirate Flags

Posted by Accent Banner on Oct 16, 2023 9:00:00 AM


Perhaps no symbol is more iconic than the eerie skull and crossbones of a Jolly Roger flag or pirate flag as it is often referred to. There is more to this infamous image than meets the eye; for the flag of a pirate was far more complex than what popular culture portrays. Here's some interesting flag facts and trivia about pirate flags that you might not know!


Pirates Used Flags to be Sneaky

The pirate flag was not flown at all times. Pirate ships would fly flags of other nations to trick incoming vessels, and when the ships were close enough, only then would the crew raise their Jolly Roger as a warning to surrender.


Execution Due to Flag-Ownership

Can you imagine a flag being so influential and feared that a person could be sentenced to death just by owning one? During the Golden Age of Piracy, simply owning a pirate flag was illegal. Since there was no reason for someone who wasn't a pirate to own the flag, the individual in question would be assumed a pirate, a crime for which the punishment was death.


Before the Skull and Crossbones

Early versions of pirate flags were actually solid red or black. Privateers would traditionally fly a red flag to let incoming ships know they were not associated with the Royal Navy. Since many of these privateers eventually became pirates, it was only natural that they would choose to keep the red flag. Pirates were known to use red flags as a sign that they would show no mercy to their enemies.

Black flags, on the other hand, were a more welcoming sight to the pirates' victims. Although being attacked by pirates was never a good thing, a black flag signified that the pirates would allow their victims a peaceful surrender.


Pirates Had Personalized Flags

We're all familiar with the skull and crossbones, but did you know there were multiple renditions of pirate flags? Almost every pirate ship had a unique flag design suited to the captain's particular taste, and it was extremely rare for two pirates to have the same flag. With the most common symbols being skulls and skeletons, other popular themes were blood, swords, and hourglasses (symbolizing the enemy's incoming death). All struck fear in their victims, making them more likely to surrender their booty.

Whether you're a swashbuckling pirate or a landlubber in search of your own iconic, customized flag, don't hesitate to contact us at Accent Banner to create your own designs and request a free quote!

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Topics: flag facts, flag trivia, pirate flags

Graphic Design Tips for your Banners

Posted by Accent Banner on Sep 12, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Graphic Design tips to help you build a creative and engaging banner for events like athletics, commencement, graduation, festivals etc. Let's discuss five major decisions one has to make while designing a banner: 

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