Friday, December 5, 2008


If you don't want to burn your old flag,
you can deposit it here and American Legion Post 180
will take care of it for you.

I don't know about other countries, but I know in the U.S. there's an entire protocol about how to dispose of our national flag. The protocol is codified in the United States Code in Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, Paragraph k, which reads, "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."

Most people don't want to go through the effort of burning a flag. If their American Legion Post is equipped to do so, they can take flags there and the post will properly dispose of them. In Vienna, Virginia, American Legion Post 180 provides this patriotic mailbox for people to leave their flags for pick up and disposal. This is the only place I've ever seen one of these. It's located at the corner of Battle and Mill Streets SE, just off of Park Street SE.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential


Lucy said...

What a neat idea! I never know what to do with mine as I know there is some ceremony in burning it and ..... I'm sure not an Eagle Scout. And I can't bring myself to just throw it away. But this is the answer for every community! I'm going to suggest it to..........somebody. Who?

Corey Templeton said...

That's pretty cool. I wonder what other sorts of things 'mailboxes' could be used for besides mail, used flags, recycling containers, and fedex drop-offs?

Virginia said...

Leave it to you to find something like this. Who knew?? I guess that burning thing is something that is way down in one of those wrinkles in my brain, (in my face???) and I had forgotten. I think mine has a few more good years.

marley said...

Well, its true what they say. You learn something new everyday! I never ever would have thought that this happened, or even more so that it was written in statute!

b.c. said...

oh this is good--there's a box in the corner of one of the libraries i go specifically for flag disposal, i thought it was just a library i know its a flag thing :)

Bob Crowe said...

I've absolutely never seen anything like this. Many years ago, when I was an unwilling boy scout, we had learn this whole big thing about flag etiquette. I still get a rumble of upset when I see a flag flying at night under floodlights (we were taught that it is not flown after sunset.) These days, though, I gotta say I'm more interested in flags for their design and aesthetics. Best colors: France. Best graphic design: Japan. Most interesting: Nepal, the only one that isn't rectangular.

Dusty Lens said...

What a great idea, we have a couple of flags that ae wind torn.

Maya said...

This is just bizarre. It's great that you got a shot with a flag sticking out. Nice!

D.C. Confidential said...

Lucy: I thought it was a good idea, too. A bit bizarre, but the intent is in the right place.

Corey: Good question. I suppose anything that requires redistribution or disposal could be put in a repurposed mailbox.

Virginia: I stumbled on it the other day when I was out running around with my sister. I find the weirdest stuff...

Marley: In this country, there's practically a statute for everything!

B.C.: And I thought it was an American Legion thing! I guess it really is a flag thing.

Bob: I didn't know that about spotlights and flags. Ironically, the flags around the Washington Monument are lit at night and fly 24/7/365. They're probably mandated by some statute or something, though. Flag flying etiquette and care baffle me. As for flags of other nations, I like Canada, Switzerland, and the Holy See.

Maya: Thanks! And yes, it is a little odd.