Flag disposal bins

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COLUMBIA - For anyone with a damaged American flag flying outside, it might be time to replace it. To avoid throwing it away unpatriotically, one local veteran recommends a solution.

Collection bins have been placed inside the lobbies of the Boone County Government Center and Columbia Public Library. Donald Briggs, with Boone County VFW Post 280, said worn, tattered or ripped flags can be disposed of respectfully at the bins.

"That's the symbol of our nation," Briggs said. "It's almost like throwing a Bible in the trash; you just wouldn't do it."

He said people should avoid throwing away the flag because it is disrespectful to those who fought for this country.

"53,000 men died in Vietnam," Briggs said. "They died for the flag and the symbol of the flag. We wore it on our arm."

Columbia Commissioner Janet Thompson said the locations should help make it convenient for residents to drop off damaged flags.

"We've asked that they not wad them up, but that they fold the flag when they bring them in and place them in the receptacles," she said.  

Thompson said the National Association of Counties provided the bins to Boone County for free. 

"We said we'd like to have two," Thompson said. "We said we may come back and ask for more, but we started off just asking for two," she said.

Thompson said she thinks the bins will send a message on the flag's worth.

"A flag means something very important to a country and if you just throw a flag away, I think it sends the wrong message," she said. "We're trying to instill in people that notion of a flag being something about which we have to have respect."

Briggs said residents can also drop off damaged flags at the VFW Post 280. Once flags are collected, they are ceremoniously burned. Briggs said members of the VFW will collect flags placed in the Government Center and library once every two weeks.