Make sure flags are in shape before donating

Where can I donate a flag? It is rather large, I would say maybe 6 to 8 feet wide by 4 feet high. Thanks.

— Sally F., via email

There are several organizations here in the Rogue Valley that would gladly take your old American flag, Sally.

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are safe bets, as is the Medford American Legion Post. All of these agencies accept flags, and know how to care for a flag properly if it is beyond repair and needs to be retired.

Before you donate your flag, check to make sure it's still in good condition. Small rips and tears can be mended, along with frayed edges and worn spots; but if there are larger rips, the flag should probably be retired instead.

There's actually a law, Section 8K of the Flag Code, that prohibits the flag from being flown if it's "no longer a fitting emblem for display." The law requires the flag to be disposed of in a respectable manner, preferably burned.

The tricky bit is that most flags were made out of cotton and wool back when the code was drafted in 1923, whereas now they're often made from nylon or other petroleum-based materials to increase durability and lifespan. These materials can be dangerous when burned, so it's best to send your flag off to one of the organizations mentioned above and have them dispose of it in a safe and respectful manner.

The Medford American Legion Post is at 100 E. Jackson St. in Medford, or you can call ahead at 541-973-2170.

You can get in touch with Boy Scout chapters through their central office at 3039 Hanley Road in Central Point or call 541-664-1444.

The Girl Scouts office is at 2001 N. Keene Way Drive in Medford, or you can call 541-773-8423.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to

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