U.S. Navy veteran Robert Shaull doesn't take kindly to those who treat the Stars and Stripes with disrespect.

So it was probably for the best that Shaull didn't see the shredded and tattered American flag — looking more like confetti than Old Glory — hanging from the roofline of a home Wednesday in southwest Bakersfield.

"Unfortunately, no," he said when asked if he believes most Americans know how to care for and display the flag. "People who have tattered, torn or worn out flags should have them retired."

Friday is Flag Day. Celebrated each year on June 14, the day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

Longtime Bakersfield resident Bobbie Hulson believes Flag Day is a good time to focus on learning the basics of flag care and etiquette.

"It's important when people display the flag that it is done with respect," she said. 

Recently she gave a faded American flag to the Scout troop at her church. They will practice learning how to fold the flag before eventually retiring it.

"They will retire it for us," she said.

As a veteran and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 97, Shaull has hoisted and lowered flags countless times. He has also been involved in the ceremonial burning of worn or damaged flags.

"We collect old flags at the VFW 97 and we have an area in back where they are retired," he said.

Anyone with a worn out flag may drop it off there, he said.

But burning may not always be necessary.

According to the Boy Scouts of America handbook, "A national flag that is worn beyond repair may be burned in a fire. The ceremony should be conducted with dignity and respect and the flag burned completely to ashes."

It's the method preferred by U.S. Flag Code and is usually the most ceremonial and solemn method.

But unlike the cotton and wool flags made in the early 20th century, today’s flags are often made with petroleum-based materials like nylon. Burning nylon can create hazardous gases.

As such, other methods have been devised, including cutting the flag before disposing of it or recycling it.

The updated guidelines read: "We simply need to ask ourselves if the manner in which we are retiring (destroying) the flag is dignified. If the answer is yes, then that method is perfectly acceptable."

In the meantime, take a good look at any flag you have displayed at your home or workplace. If it's hung up on roof shingles, or been rolled up by the wind, it may require your attention.

And if it's in tatters, it deserves a dignified retirement.

Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

(7) comments

Boogerface Nutter

I buy it, It's mine to do with what I will. How do the phony patriots (not everyone is a phony) feel about flag prints being cut and sewed into bikini bathing suits so part of Old Glory can go under some young woman's crotch? That's proper display? Flag print shorts for men? T-shirts? Yes, there are rules, written by someone, some time in the past. Truly, no one cares anymore. If you want to fly a flag, do it well. When it's all tattered, not just frayed around the edges, replace it. It's just a flag. It means more to some than others. Respect their views.


Only Nazis worship a flag instead of supporting people. And Bakersfield country boy fascism central.


[thumbdown][pirate][crying] you sir are sad and greatly deceived. 🙃


Any Stars 'n Stripes is better than none . . . worn or not . . . day or night. ---- But then . . . as you see . . . we will always have those (from 'new' york?) who will use any excuse to denigrate our POTUS, CINC . . . Military . . . and Our 'Patriot' Flag. ----- Semper Fortis, Shipmate Shaull . . . !


And Bob, as we display Old Glory on many days every year, here's more . . . ! ----- www.military.com/flag-day/us-flag-code.html --- And no . . . this is not Spam . . . !


flag etiquette? humm......Comrade Donald J. Trump is in the white house making Russia Great Again and there is someone here in Bako actually talking about proper flag etiquette for ole Glory....oh for gods sake ! just grab Glory and briskly hoist her up the pole.....humm...that doesn’t sound right....Welcome to Trump’s America


Sweetie, take your meds. I loathe Trump with every fiber of my being and, unlike you, I've been getting off my butt to protest Trump since BEFORE he got elected and even I know that RUSSIA DID NOT INTERFERE IN THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Hillary Clinton was such a horrible candidate that people chose not to vote rather than support her. Let me repeat: Hillary Clinton is so unlikeable, people chose to stay home rather than vote for her. That's on the Democrats, not Russia. And the Democrats are such a horrible party that rather than accept that people don't like Clinton, they've spread the lie that a foreign country must have interfered. If you're stupid enough to buy those lies, you DESERVE a second Trump term.

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