For those of us who fly an American flag, disposing of that flag respectfully when it has become tattered and worn is a big concern. You can't throw it away and you shouldn't use it as anything but a flag so what do you do? The U. S. Flag Code etiquette required you to destroy it in a dignified way. The preferred method is burning it, but how do you do that respectfully and safely?

I flew three different flags each time my oldest son Ryan did a tour of duty in Iraq. After 18 months, each of those flags were spent. I even had a neighbor or two come by my house and ask me to stop flying such a tattered flag. When I explained why I was flying it and that it had started out as brand new, fresh flag, they said they understood why I would want to fly it to the day he returned home. I got those flags dry cleaned and preserved. I have them in a safe place in my home.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is offering another solution. They have partnered with the National Association of Counties and the National Flag Foundation to install a flag retirement box so the public can dispose of their flags properly. You can drop off your tattered flags in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters at 3850 Justice Drive in Far East El Paso. If you are going to drop off a flag, please respectfully fold your flag before putting it into the retirement box.

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