As American citizens, we proudly raise our flags for those who have fought diligently and courageously for our nation’s freedom. The U.S. flag serves as a symbol of pride, sacrifice, hope, opportunity, and freedom. Despite being as recognizable as it is, many citizens do not know how to properly care for their flag.
In order to preserve the quality of the flag and respect what it symbolizes, it is important to learn the recommended care and storage tips. If you have a United States flag at your house, then these are the top facts you should know about how to properly care for, store, and respectfully retire the flag. Follow along to learn more about how you can be a respectful United States flag holder.
Brief History of the U.S. Flag
Although the original United States flag earned its stars and stripes in 1777, the original U.S. flag is not the exact same flag we see today. Following the original 13-star flag, the United States flag was edited throughout the centuries by adding extra stars to represent the additional states that joined the Union. The 50-star flag that we know today has been flying since July 4, 1960, once Hawaii became the 50th state. Today, the flag holds extra significance behind its design. Let’s learn about what each element of the United States flag means!
- Red: Symbolizes Hardiness and Valor.
- White: Symbolizes Purity and Innocence.
- Blue: Symbolizes Vigilance, Perseverance, and Justice.
- 50 Stars: Represents the 50 States.
- 13 Stripes: Represents the Original 13 Colonies.
If you want to learn more about the origin and history of the United States flag, check out the YouTube video below.
How to Properly Care for a U.S. Flag
Now that we’ve learned where the United States flag originated and what it represents, it’s time to learn how to properly care for a flag. According to the United States Flag Code, there is a set list of formal rules for handling and displaying the U.S. flag. By referring to this code, you will be able to extend the life of your U.S. flag as well as preserve the integrity that it represents. Below are some of the top tips for properly caring for your U.S flag before storage.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your flag depending on the material type.
- Don’t fly an indoor flag outdoors. Indoor flags are not built to be as durable as outdoor flags. This can put the flag at risk to be torn or damaged by the weather.
- Be mindful of the weather while flying your flag outdoors. If it is snowing, storming, or windy, consider bringing your flag indoors to preserve the material.
- Don’t roll up or fold a wet or damp flag. This can allow for mold to grow in the material. Instead, lay the flag completely flat until dry.
- Learn how to properly fold the flag to prepare for storage. You can watch an instructional YouTube video below to learn how to in a few quick steps.
Flag Storage | How to Store a U.S. Flag
Before learning how to store a U.S. flag, make sure you have followed the steps above to properly care for the flag. If you have skipped any of those steps or any from the United States Flag Code, your flag can run the risk of any additional damage occurring during the storage stage.
Since the U.S. flag is made of material, it is important to find a climate-controlled space for storage. Whether this space is a clean closet in your house or a climate-controlled storage unit, your flag will need to be away from any elements that could potentially damage the flag. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can store your flag.
Flag Storage Best Practices
- Don’t store the U.S. flag on or near the ground.
- Don’t pile other items on top of the U.S. flag.
- For short-term storage, store the flag in the proper triangular fold.
- For longer-term storage, the triangular fold may cause creasing. Instead, if you have the space, opt to store the flag laid out flat on a surface with acid-free paper. If you don’t have the storage options for that, you can carefully roll the flag around a mailing tube with acid-free paper.
- Store in a dark, cool space that is away from any potential moisture. The best option would be in a climate-controlled storage unit.
- Avoid storing in a garage, attic, shed, basement, or any closet near the bathroom.
If you are looking for a storage unit to store your U.S. flag locally in Central Texas, then you must check out Amy’s Attic Self Storage. Our 5 convenient locations make it easy and accessible for you to get in and get out of what you need from your unit at any time!
We are grateful to the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. We are particularly grateful to all of our military customers who are stationed at Ft. Hood. As a way to show our gratitude, we offer a military discount to members of the U.S. military when storing goods at Amy’s Attic Self Storage. We can guarantee your flag will be stored in the best conditions with our clean, climate-controlled units, and 24/7 gate access. Find out how you can rent a unit today here!
How to Properly Retire U.S. Flags
Regardless of the condition of your U.S. flag, you should never throw it away. The U.S. flag should always be treated with respect and honor – even in disposal. If you have a damaged flag, rather than throwing it away, you should follow the United States Flag Code for how to properly retire or dispose of a U.S. flag. There are three common practices for how you can properly respectfully retire your flag.
- It is typically recommended to have a respectful burning of the flag, but it is understandable that not everyone has the means to do so. If you opt to burn the flag at home, make sure to build a large enough fire to completely burn the flag. Next, you will want to fold the flag in its signature triangular fold. Once the fire is large enough, you can add it to the fire, salute the flag, and say the Pledge of Allegiance or hold a moment of silence (U.S. Department of Defense).
- If you cannot safely burn the flag yourself, you can bring your unserviceable flag to your state/county government offices or the Veterans of Foreign War. Once they have collected enough flags in their flag disposal boxes, the American Legions, Veterans of Foreign War, and the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts will conduct a flag retirement ceremony. The most common day for a flag retirement ceremony is on Flag Day.
- Another option for a respectful flag retirement ceremony at home is to conduct a burial. You can place your unserviceable flag in a dignified box and bury the box a few feet beneath the surface. You can either think of the significance of the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, or hold a moment of silence during your at-home ceremony.
Watch the YouTube video below for a tutorial on how to retire your flag at home.
Store Your U.S. Flag at Amy’s Attic Self Storage
For 17 years and counting, Amy’s Attic Self Storage has proudly served the community of Central Texas through its modern storage unit solutions. With five locations throughout Central Texas, Amy’s Attic leads the community in both residential and business storage services. Our State-of-the-Art facilities offer an accessible and clean storage environment for your needs. If you are interested in renting a storage unit, then please call the nearest Amy’s Attic storage facility to you. See map below.