DEAR ABBY: I was wondering if you could print something about how to properly dispose of American flags. I'm a garbage man in northern Illinois, and I am sick of finding American flags in the trash.
Most of my co-workers and I pull them out and properly dispose of them. Do people really not realize what our flag means, and how many men and women have given their lives for what it stands for? -- PATRIOT NAMED DANIEL
DEAR DANIEL: Your letter is timely. I'm sure the people you have described are not being intentionally disrespectful. I suspect the flags are thrown out because of ignorance.
Readers: When an American flag becomes soiled, faded and tattered, there are better ways to dispose of it than tossing it in the garbage. According to the U.S. Flag Code, "When a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning."
The pamphlet "Flag Etiquette" published by the American Legion states: "For individual citizens this should be done discreetly, so that the act is not perceived as a protest or desecration."
Many American Legion posts conduct Disposal of Unserviceable Flag ceremonies on June 14, Flag Day, each year. The Boy and Girl Scouts of America also are able to conduct these ceremonies. When you are ready to dispose of yours, contact the local Boy or Girl Scout Council, or wait until the Girl Scout cookie sales start locally and offer the flag to the troop during a sale at a small business.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 50ish, never-married bachelor with a question about engagement rings. Do you recommend that the man go out and purchase an engagement ring and then present it to the woman when he proposes, or do you think he should propose without a ring and then let her choose the ring she wants? -- OLD BACHELOR IN OHIO
DEAR BACHELOR: When a man is ready to propose, it would be prudent for him to visit a jeweler and ask that some rings -- or stones -- in his price range be set aside. Then he can pop the question, and if the woman says yes, take her to the jeweler to select something she would enjoy wearing. This will prevent an unpleasant and expensive surprise should the lady say no.
DEAR ABBY: Your response to "One-Way Ticket's" (5/11) question about his mother's final trip home got me thinking, and I found a loophole they may be able to use. If their mother's air miles can be used by someone else (like her grown kids), she would go as cargo, but her miles would pay for her escort to take her home.
If there are any miles left over after that, they could be donated to various causes, like the Shriners, who sometimes need to get a child flown to another part of the country for treatment. Or the military may have a stranded soldier waiting to go home for the holidays, etc. My oldest flies using my mom's air miles, and I flew my youngest with mine, so if the mother of "One-Way" would like to put her miles to use, this could be helpful. -- FORMER FREQUENT FLIER
DEAR FORMER FREQUENT FLIER: What great ideas! I love the suggestions my readers come up with, and yours are good ones.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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