​Is It Okay to Fly a Tattered American Flag?

​Is It Okay to Fly a Tattered American Flag?

Posted by Hayley Adams on Oct 26th 2023

The American flag, with its iconic red, white, and blue, is a symbol of unity, freedom, and pride for the people of the United States. Flying the flag can be a pretty powerful gesture, but it's essential to do so with respect and in accordance with the Flag Code.

Even the best-made, highest-quality U.S. flag will begin to deteriorate after months of snow, rain, sun, and wind exposure. While our customers experience expanded lifespan on their American flags due to the quality of our products, that doesn’t mean they will last forever. If your flag is in poor condition, it may be time to order a new one.

The U.S. Flag Code

The U.S. Flag Code, established in 1923, provides essential guidelines for respectfully handling and displaying the American flag. It states that when an American flag is no longer a fitting emblem for display — often due to factors like fading, tearing, or soiling — it should be retired in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. If you're unsure how to dispose of a tattered flag, don't worry, we're here to help! Eagle Mountain proudly offers to retire American or Texas flags. Check out all of our offered services here.

When Should You Replace Your Flag?

The lifespan of your flag is dependent on several factors, including the quality of the flag, where it is flown, and whether you are following proper flag care tips. A flag flown daily will have a shorter lifespan than one that is only raised during holidays and special occasions. However, regardless of the amount of time your flag is spent flying, all great flags eventually come to an end. Here are a few common wear and tears that usually mean it’s time to replace your flag.

  • Tearing: Wind, sun exposure, and rain can cause the flag to tear.
  • Fraying: One of the first signs a flag is in need of replacing is fraying along the ends and seams.
  • Fading: Prolonged sun exposure will cause your stars and stripes to lose their vibrant color and become dull and faded. If you’ve noticed that your stripes are turning orange and your field is light blue, your flag may be due for replacing.
  • Stains: Dirt, dust, and other materials can cause staining on the flag, making it look dirty and old.

When you fly a dirty or torn American flag, you run the risk of unintentionally disrespecting all the brave men and women who fought for our freedoms along with everything else Old Glory represents. Not sure which flag you need? Not to worry! We have the wide selection of American-made, high-quality American flags, and the perfect guide to help you choose the right one