“Honor the Texas Flag” especially when retiring it


Texas is a whole ‘nother place.

Flag etiquette is a concern of mine — no, not an obsession, despite the number of recent posts — and I try to stay alert to news on that front. Hangin’ with Scout leaders today I heard another one: Texas has a law that specifies how a soiled or tattered Texas flag should be retired.

U.S. flags should be retired in a respectful fashion, according to the non-binding U.S. flag code. Texas leaves a lot less up to the imagination or to chance. The law calls for a sober ceremony, but just in case you wonder, it also provides a suggested script for the ceremony, ending with the Texas Pledge. So far as I know, Texas is the only state that has a pledge of allegiance for the state flag, separate from the national Pledge of Allegiance (if you know of others, please tell!).

Image from State Office of Risk Management

The state law, in all its glory is below the fold (at least, that portion dealing with the Texas flag retirement ceremony).

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 11. STATE SYMBOLS AND HONORS; PRESERVATION

SUBTITLE A. STATE SYMBOLS AND HONORS

CHAPTER 3100. STATE FLAG

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 3100.001. STATE FLAG. The state flag is the 1839
national flag of the Republic of Texas.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1,
2001.

§ 3100.002. DESCRIPTION: IN GENERAL. (a) The state flag
is a rectangle that:
(1) has a width to length ratio of two to three; and
(2) contains:
(A) one blue vertical stripe that has a width
equal to one-third the length of the flag;
(B) two equal horizontal stripes, the upper stripe white, the lower stripe red, each having a length equal to two-thirds the length of the flag; and
(C) one white, regular five-pointed star:
(i) located in the center of the blue
stripe;
(ii) oriented so that one point faces
upward; and
(iii) sized so that the diameter of a circle passing through the five points of the star is equal to three-fourths the width of the blue stripe.
(b) The red and blue of the state flag are:
(1) the same colors used in the United States flag; and
(2) defined as numbers 193 (red) and 281 (dark blue) of the Pantone Matching System.
(c) The red, white, and blue of the state flag represent, respectively, bravery, purity, and loyalty.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

* * * * *

SUBCHAPTER C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO STATE FLAG

§ 3100.101. PLEDGE. The pledge of allegiance to the state flag is: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.”

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

§ 3100.102. OCCASIONS AT WHICH PLEDGE MAY BE RECITED. The pledge of allegiance to the state flag may be recited at any:
(1) public or private meeting at which the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag is recited; and
(2) state historical event or celebration.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

§ 3100.103. ORDER OF RECITATION. The pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States should be recited before the pledge of allegiance to the state flag if both are recited.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

§ 3100.104. RECITING PLEDGE. If the pledge to the state flag is recited, each person who is present and:
(1) not in uniform should:
(A) face the state flag and stand at attention with the person’s right hand over the heart;
(B) if wearing a head covering that is easy to remove, remove that head covering with the right hand and hold it at the person’s left shoulder, with the person’s hand over the heart; and
(C) recite the pledge; or
(2) in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and make the military salute.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER D. RETIREMENT OF STATE FLAG

§ 3100.151. MANNER OF RETIREMENT. (a) If a state flag is no longer used or useful as an emblem for display, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning, in a ceremony or another dignified way that emphasizes its honor as a fitting emblem for this state.
(b) It is encouraged that retirement of the state flag be a public ceremony under the direction of uniformed personnel representing a state or national military service or a patriotic society, but the state flag may be retired in a private ceremony.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

§ 3100.152. CONDUCT OF RETIREMENT CEREMONY. (a) A retirement ceremony for a state flag should be conducted with the honor and respect inherent in the traditions of this state.
(b) During a retirement ceremony:
(1) each citizen of this state who is present and not in uniform should:
(A) stand at attention with the person’s right hand over the heart; and
(B) if wearing a head covering that is easy to remove, remove the head covering with the person’s right hand and hold it at the person’s left shoulder, with the right hand over the heart;
(2) each person who is present and in uniform should make the military salute at the appropriate time as designated by the ceremony; and
(3) each person who is present but not a citizen of this state should stand at attention.
(c) In a retirement ceremony in which the flag is to be burned or buried, the flag may be retired as a whole or the colors of the flag may be separated for individual dedication, with the separation taking place immediately before the retirement and dedication ceremony.
(d) The official retirement ceremony for the state flag encouraged for public use is:
I am your Texas flag!

I was born January 25, 1839.

I am one of only two flags of an American state that has also served as the symbol of an independent nation–The Republic of Texas.

While you may honor me in retirement, the spirit I represent will never retire!

I represent the spirit of Texas–Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!

I represent the bravery of the Alamo and the Victory at San Jacinto.

My spirit rode with the Texas Rangers over the Forts Trail of the Big Country and herded cattle through the Fort Worth stockyards. I have sailed up Galveston Bay and kept a watchful eye over our El Paso del Norte.

My colors are in the waters of the Red River and in the Bluebonnets of the Texas Hill Country.

You’ll find my spirit at the Light House of Palo Duro and in the sands of Padre Island;

I am in the space station at Houston and atop the oil wells of West Texas.

From the expanse of the Big Bend to the Riverwalk of San Antone–all of Texas is my home!

I wave over the cotton and grain fields of the High Plains, and I am deep in the rich soil of the Rio Grande Valley.

I am proudly displayed under the Capitol Dome, and I fly high above the concrete canyons of downtown Dallas.

You’ll find my spirit in the East Texas piney woods and along the Grandeur of the Rio Grande.

I represent Texas–every Child, Woman, and Man!

The blue field in me stands for the valor of our ancestors in the battles for our country.

Let us retire the blue–Salute!

My white field stands for the purity in all our Texas hearts! It represents the honor that each of us should pay to our state each day.

Let us retire the white–Salute!

The red is for all of the men and women who have died in service of our state–whether as members of the armed services or as citizen Samaritans.

Let us retire the red–Salute!

My lone, independent star is recognized worldwide because it represents ALL of Texas and stands for our unity as one for God, State, and Country.

Let us retire the lone star–Salute!

Join in the pledge to the Texas flag:

“Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.”

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

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11 Responses to “Honor the Texas Flag” especially when retiring it

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    No requirement for separate events. Somber enough for the U.S. flag, somber enough for Texas.

    Like

  2. Carl says:

    Is there any requirement or protocol when retiring a US flag and a Texas flag at the same event? For example, must the retirements be on separate occasions, separate fires, one before the other, etc?

    Like

  3. Bill Thompson says:

    Does anybody know where we got the Texas salute or history from.

    Like

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Kenneth,

    There is no way to fold the Texas flag prescribed in Texas law or tradition. Federal law is silent on the issue as a matter of course, and as a matter of law.

    The triangle fold used on the U.S. flag is perfectly legal, and it works well. I have found that, especially when there is a ceremony with both the U.S. and the Texas flag being folded, the unison look of folding them the same way is impressive. If the fold is very crisp, the Texas flag also folds to only blue, with one very large star visible on one side, and mostly blue on the other. It looks very nice.

    The other chief advantage of this fold is that the flag unfurls neatly when hoisted the next morning, or the next time. A third advantage I find with Scouts is that it gives Scouts more practice at getting the folding right. In all the ceremonies I ever did, at Philmont, in Utah, in Maryland, in the District of Columbia, and in Texas, I’ve always folded the state flags in the triangle.

    So I recommend the same triangle fold for the Texas flag that is used on the U.S. flag.

    You may fold it in a square for packing (you can fold a U.S. flag that way, too — it’s how it’s shipped from flag factories).

    Ohio is the only state that has a different procedure for folding its flag. The Ohio flag is a double-pointed pennant, however, unique among U.S. state flags. The 17-fold process was designed for an Eagle Scout project a few years ago, in order to honor Ohio’s place as the 17th state.

    In any case, fold the flag with soberly, with honor.

    Good luck!

    By the way, Troop 355 here in Duncanville retires flags several times a year. When you come across a flag that needs retiring, if you don’t do your own ceremonies, send them to us.

    Like

  5. Kenneth says:

    What is the proper way to fold a Texas state flag? I recollect reading somewhere that the only flag that is to be folded in a triangle is the US flag, just can’t find it again. The triangle fold represents the 3 pointed hats worn by the revolutionists that won our freedom from the rule of Britian. I am a BSA Scoutmaster and wish to be correctly informed when teaching my Scouts the do’s and dont’s.

    Like

  6. Texas Pledge of Allegiance
    http://www.texaspolicecentral.com/plrdge.html

    Pledge of Allegiance to the State Flag

    (a) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag is, “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.”

    (b) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag should be rendered by all present except those in uniform by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Individuals who are not in uniform and who are wearing a headdress that is easily removeable should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, with the hand over the heart. Individuals in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.

    (c) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag may be recited at all public and private meetings at which the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag is recited and at state historical events and celebrations.

    (d) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag should be recited after the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag if both are recited.

    Like

  7. DeAnna says:

    I have a question for you. How should you stand when reciting the Texas Pledge? I have seen some place their right hand, waist-high, palm facing up while reciting the Texas Pledge. Do you know the reason for it? Should you continue to hold your hand over your heart as we do for the U.S. Pledge? Thanks for you help.

    Like

  8. Kaylie says:

    I used to live in Texas, and I appreciate how you so much greatly appreciate it.

    Like

  9. David Parker says:

    Sir:

    The great state of Georgia yields to no one in its respect for the state flag.

    http://anotherhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/pledge-of-allegiance-to-georgia-flag.html

    Like

  10. Ed Darrell says:

    I post it for the record, and to make it more freely available, should anyone be interested.

    It’s a Texas law that public schools should daily say the two pledges.

    Cassie, in most classes I’ve been in, the pledges are said half-heartedly. Many kids prefer to do what they can to flout the law. Is that your experience, too?

    Like

  11. Why on earth would you post all that? Yikes.

    I am in HS in Texas, and we pledge to the Texas flag every morning right after the US flag.

    Cassie

    Like

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