DEAR ABBY: My neighbors, whom I don't know well, are flying an American flag that is literally in shreds. You can no longer tell that it has red stripes because it is all a faded pink color. This upsets me greatly because I feel it is disrespectful to our country and inconsiderate to veterans.
Is there anyone I could contact about this to see that it is taken care of? -- PEEVED PATRIOT IN MARYLAND
DEAR PEEVED PATRIOT: Yes, your neighbor. According to the American Legion Flag Etiquette brochure, when a flag is damaged or faded it should be retired and replaced. According to the brochure, "When a flag has served its useful purpose it should be destroyed -- preferably by burning." Many American Legion posts conduct Disposal of Unserviceable Flag ceremonies every year, a dignified and solemn way of disposing of flags that are too worn to be displayed. Some local Boy Scout troops also provide this service as part of their training.
Before approaching your neighbor, contact your local branch of the American Legion -- or visit the Web site www.legion.org -- for more useful information about proper display of, and respect for, the American flag.