Just in time for the Fourth of July: The ultimate U.S. flag guide

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A proper disposal of the American Flag. A proper disposal of the American Flag.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, chances are you are going to see American flags flying everywhere.

The United State Code (Title 36, Chapter 10) lays out the patriotic customs, including how our flag -- the best-known symbol of our country --  should be flown, handled, folded and, eventually, retired.

"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning," according to the section titled, "Respect for flag."

According to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the flag to be retired should be folded in the customary triangle manner (see below).

You then build a fire, making sure it is large enough to burn the flag completely.

Once the flag has been placed in the fire and is burning, "[t]he individual(s) can come to attention, salute the Flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection," according to the VFW.

When there is nothing left, the fire should be safely extinguished and the ashes of the flag buried.

[ONLINE: The Flag Code]

How to correctly a U.S. flag

Starting with a completely open flag, fold the lower striped section of the flag over the blue field.

Fold the just folded edge over the open edge.

Start a triangular fold by bringing the corner of the folded edge to the open edge.

Continue triangular folding until the length of the flag is folded.

"When the flag is completely folded, only a triangular blue field of stars should be visible," according to USFlag.org, which also explains the flag folding ceremony and the meaning of each fold.

If you do not wish to retire a flag by yourself, trying contacting a local American Legion post, or a Cub Scouts pack, or a Boy Scouts or Girls Scouts troop.

[RELATED: Fourth of July safety tips]

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The do nots

Do not let the flag touch the ground.

Do not fly the flag upside down, unless there is an emergency.

Do not use the flag as clothing.

Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.

Do not draw on or mark the flag.

[MORE: Flag Etiquette: Standards of respect]

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