In recent years, the media has shown the BURNING of American flags by protestors both foreign and domestic. This type of DESTRUCTION of an American flag is not acceptable and is also a violation of Federal, State and sometimes local laws. Many Americans unfortunately now think ANY burning of an American flag is wrong. This is not entirely the case.
The act of burning an American flag is not inherently evil. Indeed, the Boy Scouts of America have long held that an American flag, `when worn beyond repair' should be destroyed `in a dignified way by burning.' Boy Scout Handbook at 422 (9th ed.). Similarly, Congress had prescribed [such disposal for flags no longer fit for display]. Nor is the respectful disposition of an old flag the only occasion on which burning a flag might be entirely proper. The old soldier whose last wish is to be cremated with a prized American flag fast against his breast would be deserving of respect and admiration, rather than condemnation.
United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 - The Flag, Section 8K states the following:
"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."
What is the proper way to dispose a flag?
In many American communities, one or more organizations (such as the VFW - Veterans of Forgeign Wars) render an important community service by collecting and overseeing the proper disposal of old, worn, tattered, and/or frayed U.S. Flags. Some organizations make it an annual service project; others announce when and where Flags will be accepted. Often, community newspapers, radio, and TV stations help broadcast the availability of the service. Churches, synagogues, chambers of commerce, civic organizations, and businesses sometimes have served as "drop off" locations for the collection of worn flags. Any American Legion or local VFW can put you in contact with an approved disposal facility.
If many U.S. Flags are collected, it may be desirable to seek assistance from a corporate, government or military facility which maintains an incinerator or furnace that can readily burn the flags. According to the United State Flag Code 36s 176(k): "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." This burning occurs during a formal ceremony conducted by an approved flag disposal organization.