According to the US Department of Defense, there are several proper ways to dispose of a tattered or otherwise worn American flag. The Battle of Richmond Visitors Center and several other locations in the county have set up drop-off locations for those desiring a Department of Defense-sanctioned dispatch for one of their flags.
Damaged flags must be professionally folded and burned or buried before disposal. Groups like the American Legion hold ceremonies that often include music or color guard ceremonies.
The Battlefield Park flag collection project, described as a year-round project, has been ongoing for about a decade. Battlefield of Richmond Visitor Center curator Phillip Seyfrit said the collection is a simple way for people to do something good.
“I think most people want to do the right thing. One of the things that a lot of people can’t take care of – they put up an American flag, it lasts about a year or so and stays up for a while and then just doesn’t look very good. Instead of throwing it in the trash, there is a specific way they are meant to be disposed of. Most people want to do that or take it to people who can do it for them,” Seyfried said. “The problem is that no one knows where to do it for them. So a few years ago we set up a drop-off point here (the Battle of Richmond Visitors Center). Then I take them to the group that will have a flag retirement ceremony in the near future.”
Battlefield Park return times are Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:30pm. For anyone unable to work in this time frame, simply leave flags on the visitor center porch and a staff member will pick them up later.
There are other tattered flag drop-off locations in the county, including two drop-off locations at the Madison County Courthouse. One was constructed in the courtyard outside the building by the Eagle Scout Troop in 2014. The other is inside the building.
Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor issued a statement in support of the flag collection initiative.
“When a flag becomes worn or torn, there is a respectful opportunity to retire that flag, and we want all Madison Countians to have the opportunity to properly do so,” Taylor said. “The flag retirement box in the Courthouse, as well as the others in the community and program at the Battlefield Visitors Center, is a way to respect our national symbol and provide this convenient service to our citizens. We want to make it easy for our citizens to properly lower their flags. It means a lot to us and many others in our community, and we are grateful to the community groups who took this initiative. Programs like this make Madison County better.”