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As one of the more easily recognized symbols the world over, the American flag certainly has its share of myths attached to its existence. While most Americans understand the basics of the flag, there are a few myths people erroneously take as fact. Let’s take a look at the top 4 myths about the American flag to get the story of this iconic emblem straight.
One of the biggest myths about the American flag is that burning it is always unacceptable. While it is true that many people burn the flag as a sign of protest or unhappiness with their government or nation, there is one instance when burning the flag is considered the only recourse. When retiring a flag due to damages which render the flag disrespectful to fly, burning the flag is considered the only proper way to dispose of an old flag. You should never throw a flag in the trash since this is disrespectful. The only proper way to dispose of the American flag is a proper flag burning ceremony.
Another of the most popular myths about the American flag is that you must destroy it if it touches the ground. While it is true you want to keep the flag from touching the ground because it’s a sign of disrespect, you do not need to destroy the flag because of an accident of this nature. It is far better to pick the flag back up and display it properly than to destroy a perfectly good flag.
It is perfectly acceptable to wash the flag or have it dry cleaned. In fact, it’s a sign of disrespect to fly a dirty flag so regularly cleaning it is actually important. The flag code even mentions that it's unacceptable to fly a dirty flag.
While we think of the current flag as the only acceptable option to fly because it showcases the unity of our nation which each state represented, there are no rules saying you can’t fly an older flag without all 50 stars. An American flag never becomes obsolete no matter where it stands in the history of the states joining the official union.