County of Marin - News Releases - Flag Disposal

For Immediate Release
June 06, 2017

Veterans to Collect and Dispose of Old Flags

Retire stars & stripes properly on Flag Day, June 14

San Rafael, CA – If your faded or tattered Old Glory is appearing less than glorious, members of the Marin County United Veterans Council will gladly accept flags on Flag Day, June 14, in front of the military monuments at the Marin County Civic Center and make preparations for their proper disposal.

An American flag flaps as Junior ROTC cadets walk by during a Veterans Day event in 2013.Just like a military uniform, an American flag should be in pristine shape to be suitable for public display.
The veterans council receives sponsorship from the County of Marin government and support from the County’s Veterans Service Office. Council volunteers will be stationed in front of the memorials at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to accept flags. The location is just off Civic Center Drive in front of the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, just north of the Marin County Civic Center.

If you can’t make it on Flag Day, you can bring your old flag to the council’s booth during the Marin County Fair, set for June 30 to July 4 at the Marin County Fairgrounds in San Rafael.

“There comes a time when a flag is no longer fit for display,” said Novato resident Ray Mullin, president of the council. “We remind people that you should not just throw an old flag in the trash.”

“The flag is a symbol of the men and women who gave their all for our freedom,” said Sean Stephens, the Marin County Veterans Service Officer. “We ask that people show respect by replacing flags before they become tattered.”

Traditional military etiquette dictates that an American flag made of cotton or wool should be folded in a customary manner before being burned in a large fire. Witnesses should come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a moment of silence. Ashes from flag burnings should be buried. Flags made of synthetic material should be recycled because burning them creates hazardous gases.

Mullin said several locations that previously incinerated flags for the council no longer offer that service. Many collected flags are made of synthetic materials such as polyester and should not be burned. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops have committed to accepting and properly disposing of the flags collected on Flag Day and at the Marin County Fair.

The Veterans Council receives most of its financial support from the Marin County Administrator’s Office. The council is comprised of representatives from various groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Military Officers Association of America, Elks Lodge 1108 in San Rafael and Blue Star Mothers of Marin. The council’s mission is to support all veterans’ causes and host events on public holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Learn more about the council on its Facebook page.


Sean Stephens
Veterans Services Officer
Health and Human Services

10 N. San Pedro Rd.
Suite 1010
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6193
Email: Sean Stephens
Veterans Services website