American Legion

Unserviceable Flags Ceremony

The Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags is outlined in Resolution No. 440, passed by the 19th National Convention of The American Legion in New York, Sept. 20-23, 1937. The ceremony has been an integral part of American Legion ritual since that date.

“A Flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for, and died for a free Nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.

“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked. Sergeant-at-Arms, assemble the Color Guard, escort the detail bearing the Flags and destroy these Flags by burning.

On 15 October 2022 our American Legion post 581 conducted the ceremony with the assistance of our Columbia Boy Scout Troop.  This is an annual event.  We have a drop box for old flags at the entrance to our Legion Post and we collect flags all year.  The Boy Scouts also collect old flags.  This year we burned a total of 903 flags.

This first picture is of our Post Commander performing the ceremony with the assistance of the Boy Scouts.


Flags being taken for ceremonial burning.


Flags presented to the burning detail.

And the burning begins.

Flag Burning Ceremony - 7.jpeg


Going very well!

And now almost consumed.