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Katy Officers Collecting Worn-Out American Flags


August 6, 2018

Natalie Cook Clark

Katy residents who want to honor their well-loved, worn out flags can drop them off to be disposed of with dignity.

We fly American flags on National holidays to show our patriotic pride and to promote National spirit but sometimes American flags can show their age and love. Katy officers from Harris County Precinct 5 are collecting worn-out American flags for the Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts who will properly dispose of the flags through a ceremony.

"A lot of people have a flag that needs to be replaced and they want to be respectful, they know not to just throw them out but they don't know what to do," says Robert Henslee, media relations for Harris County Precinct 5. "The Boy Scouts actually came to us with this idea and we thought this could be a great service to our community." This will now be a year-round project.

According to the United States flag code title 4, chapter 1, section 8, “(k)The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”


Harris County Precinct 5 Constable's Office 17423 Katy Fwy, Houston 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday - Friday

(281) 463-6666

Katyites can also hand over their flags to any Pct. 5 officer on patrol.


It's important to understand the flag etiquette in displaying the American flag. This includes making sure they are in good condition and not frayed, torn or displaying a hole. When a flag has seen better days and becomes worn-out it's time to retire it. Displaying and disposing of an American flag comes with National responsibility. You can only dispose of an American flag by:

Ceremonial Flag Burning The most dignified and common way to dispose of American flags. The flag or flags are properly, neatly folded, placed on a bonfire, and the Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem is performed while those in attendance salute.

Flag Burial

The flag or flags are respectfully, neatly folded, placed in a quality wooden box, and interred in the ground.

Flag Shredding

According to the US Army's Heraldry Institute, flag shredding is an acceptable means of disposal as long as it is respectful. Scissors can be used to carefully cut the thirteen stripes into neat pieces, with the star-spangled blue field intact. The pieces are then placed into a box and respectfully buried.

Flag Recycling

An alternative form of disposal for flags made of polyester or nylon, which release harmful chemicals into the air when burned. Contact a local recycling processor for info.

Donate it to a local organization

Organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy and Girl Scouts, and branches of the US military all accept flag donations.

The officers of Precinct 5 will be giving the flags over the the boy scouts for a disposal ceremony. When preparing your flag for donation and lowering it remember to not let it touch the ground. You can't just wad it up. You must fold the American flag in it's customary manner. And don't store it anywhere where it can get dirty or harmed.

100 flags collected and counting...

"We had one gentlemen bring in a bag of about 20 worn-out flags. He never knew what to do with them so he just kept collecting them in a bag. Now we can make sure they are respectfully disposed of," said Henslee.

The Katy officers started collecting flags just after the Fourth of July and so far they've collected 100 flags. They are still collecting and this is a great time to look at your flag and see if it's time to retire it and get a new one so you can proudly display it.

There is a U.S. Flag Code that outlines the appropriate times, conditions and manner in which you can display your American flag. It does say you can properly display it any day from sunrise to sunset when it's not inclement weather. However, there are certain days when a drive through our neighborhoods becomes a wonderful patriotic stroll. Next month will bring us two days when American flags should be flown proudly. The first Monday of September is Labor Day and then Constitution Day is September 17.


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