It’s okay to burn this flag

The flagpole outside the U.S. post office in Delmar, New York, a hamlet of about 8,300 people (in 2000), normally flies American and POW flags.

On Memorial Day, May 27, 2024, parade attendees noticed another flag under the first two: “Trump 2024” (photo, left; see story here). For the record, Delmar is in Albany County, which went two-thirds for Biden in the 2020 election, so the area isn’t a hotbed of Trumpism.

I’m pretty sure there’s a law against this, because the post office is federal property, but I won’t spend all after afternoon looking for it. The Postal Service says their employees didn’t display it, which would violate the Hatch Act, and they promptly took it down; so the question is what to do with it.

This doesn’t require much thought. If the owner wishes to claim it, obviously they should give it back to him, while handing him a trespassing citation. If it’s unclaimed, then they’ll have to dispose of it somehow (as they can’t keep it at the post office), and this is where flag etiquette comes into play. One handy guide (here) says,

Flags are symbols that represent the people, and showing respect to flags when we’re handling them is imperative. You should store all flags in a respectful manner …. It’s crucial that you understand when to retire your flags. When they’re no longer fit for display, you should either destroy or recycle them. Some organizations will … retire them for you in a ceremony …. These ceremonies include burning the … flags or cutting them into pieces ….

These instructions apply to Old Glory, state flags, probably the POW/MIA flags, and flags of other countries (at least ones we consider friends), but there’s no real protocol for Trump flags other than you have to get it off federal property. So burning it is fine. A garbage can for a burn barrel will do. Anybody got a lighter?

Return to The-Ave.US Home Page


Comments are closed.