Flag Retirement Facility
In 2017, South Fayette Township resident Jacob Kanaskie created an American Flag Retirement Facility in Fairview Park for his Scouts BSA Troop 248 Eagle Scout service project. The facility, located near the Fairview Entrance Pavilion, allows individuals and groups to respectfully dispose of U.S. flags, either by depositing them in a donation box or performing an appropriate ceremony. The Scouts led the inaugural flag retirement ceremony on Memorial Day 2017.
Flag Donation Box
If you wish to have a flag retired but not perform a ceremony, you may deposit flags in the donation box near the Fairview Park Entrance Pavilion during regular park hours, from sunrise to sunset. Scouts periodically will retire the flags appropriately.
Ceremonial Fire Pit
If you wish to perform a ceremony, you may reserve the ceremonial fire pit for that purpose (follow the link and go to the "Park Facilities" tab). Advance key pickup and security deposit is required to access the fire pit.
Only flag ceremonies are permitted in the fire pit; grilling, bonfires, trash burning and other unauthorized uses are prohibited. Only flags made of natural fiber may be burned.
Flag Retirement Ceremonies
Please see the Guide to Flag Ceremonies (PDF) for retirement procedures and items needed to perform the rituals. Various organizations offer additional information about flag ceremony options.
No laws govern flag disposal, and no official ceremony exists, but all ceremonies should be conducted with reverence. According to the U.S. Flag Code, "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."
In addition to choosing a type of ceremony, you will need to supply the following items to conduct a burning ceremony:
- Match-light charcoal briquettes
- 1- to 3-gallon water container to extinguish the fire when the ceremony is complete. (Water is available on the side of the building containing the restrooms.)
- Insulated gloves
- First aid kit
Disposing of Synthetic-Material Flags
Flags made of nylon or plastic create toxic fumes when burned, so they should be recycled instead. Another option for disposing of flags made of synthetic materials is as follows:
- Stretch out the corners of the flag.
- Cut the flag in half vertically. Do not cut into the blue star field.
- Place the two halves together and cut in half horizontally.
- You will have four pieces of flag, one being the blue star field and the other three being red and white stripes. At that point, it is no longer considered an American flag.
- Put the flag in a container and dispose of it properly.