The Proper Way to Retire an American Flag

The tradition of honoring men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military dates back to the 1860s and is still going strong today. Every year, Cypress Lawn hosts a special Memorial Day observance, where all of our San Francisco Bay Area neighbors are welcome to pay tribute to veterans for their service and their defense of American freedom, justice, and equality. Our team stands together in remembrance of those in the U.S. Armed Forces: Those who have fallen in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives to protect the highest of ideals.

We take our responsibility to honor the sacrifice of veterans very seriously here at Cypress Lawn, with throngs of people coming to our cemetery Memorial Day weekend to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. Not only is this a way to express gratitude for the price paid, but also to bring a measure of healing to those who have been left behind.

We hope you will join us in honoring our fallen heroes and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces at our annual event Memorial Day observance, held this year on Monday, May 28, at 1:00 p.m. We invite everyone in the San Francisco Bay area to attend and enjoy our scheduled speakers, musicians, and refreshments. We will also have some solemn moments, as we read aloud the list of U.S. veterans who have been laid to rest at Cypress Lawn in the past year. And we are honored to hold a flag retirement ceremony, which is the proper, dignified way of disposing of U.S. flags. A flag should be retired if it is unable to be repaired or is tattered. If you have a flag that fits this description, we encourage you to bring it to the event to be retired.

There are several ways to respectfully dispose of the American flag without showing disgrace. According to The United States Flag Code, “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.” The Flag Code does not actually give specifics on how to destroy the flag. Simply put, one should use common sense making sure the procedure is in good taste and shows no disrespect for the flag. We will have experts on hand who can help us accomplish this.

All of us at Cypress Lawn feel honored to host special guests on Memorial Day, but we take great strides all year long to help people say goodbye to their loved ones who served in the military. We make sure every honorably discharged veteran is laid to rest with much-deserved dignity and respect.

We can help arrange veteran’s benefits including:

  • U.S. burial flags
  • The playing of Taps
  • Funerals with full military honors
  • Color Guard
  • Special flag presentation ceremony to the family

We also work closely with all families of veterans to make sure they receive any and all benefits that are due.

As we stand united in gratitude this Memorial Day, remember that Cypress Lawn is here to honor and remember those who have died. If you or someone you know has lost a veteran loved one and is going through the grieving process, we are here to help. We can offer immediate support through our numerous resources and grief services, including our Acute Loss Brochure. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.