Patriotic and environmental box

As seen at the completely amazing Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, home of the stupendous YOUmedia center.


  1. As soon as you drop a flag into it, it should glow orange inside, make a “whoosh” sound, and emit a little smoke from the slot.

  2. I’m not a big flag waver but. I proudly served in the US Air Force, one of the things I swore / pledged my life to was to protect the Constitution, the Amercican way yada yada… That includes your rights to burn the flag and protest what ever. Conversely it freaking chaps my ass when I see some dim wit flying or waving a tattered dirty flag if your going display the flag as point of pride or a satament of where you stand then do it right with respect for the symbol. Waving a tattered or dirty flag disrespects more than burning it in protest. So turn your old flag in let Vets or boys scouts preform a decommission ceremony.

  3. these are found in many local libraries, and the VFW Hall by me has a converted mailbox on the outside of the building for dropoffs. My old man has actually bought a flag for a neighbor because he was tired of seeing a tattered flag flying. old school navy.

  4. This is cool. As flags are increasingly made of nylon instead of cotton, the favored method of flag retirement has switched from burning to recycling- due to the toxic fumes emitted from burning plastic. Makes me wonder about the neat flag ceremonies we used to do when I was a boy scout.

    1. He seems to be against destruction with contempt.

      Section 176 of the national flag code states that “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.”

  5. “I want a hemp flag with embroidered stars. Know where to find one?”

    And I want it made in the USA.

  6. I enjoyed the reading and Q&A at the library today. That was an interesting space that I hadn’t explored, only a block away from my school, and right next to my train station. Very nice.

    Also, I just noticed one of these boxes at another Chicago Public Library branch just a couple of days ago.

  7. I totally missed that at the library today, I think i was too thrown by the question of how to get adults to understand gaming. I was thinking to myself that the problem is games is children play them and ruin the fun for adult players.

  8. I have the flag we always flew outside my boyhood home (well, not *always*, but on Flag Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Armistice Day). It’s nearly forty years old, made of a cheapish loose cotton weave, and a wee bit stained and threadbare, but I can’t quite bring myself to destroy it. I haven’t flown it in ages, as I’ve never been much of a flagwaver, and even less of one these last ten years, and I’ve also never felt inordinately reverent toward flags anyway. But my feelings toward this particular one are akin to how I feel about my dad’s late-50’s leather jacket… just part of my history, y’know? I couldn’t recycle it. I’d sooner recycle the flag that was on Grandpa Pete’s coffin, but I’m damned if I could explain why.

    Flags are weird to me. I distinctly remember feeling uncomfortable with the Pledge of Allegiance back in 1st grade, long before I felt anything but unalloyed pride and love for my country. The Pledge just felt strangely idolatrous to me. To this day, the sound of children repeating those words in their droning two-toned cadence still creeps me out a bit, especially since so few of them have the remotest grasp of what they’re saying.

  9. Nothing very new; as others have said, the VFW and similar organizations have been collecting damaged/unwanted flags for “dignified disposal” for some time.

    It should also be remembered that the Flag Code is entirely one man’s invention, and resides in the same portion of the law that created things like National Liverwurst Week. If it’s something you find meaningful, great (and if so, I hope you aren’t too put out by the fact that so many flags are displayed/treated incorrectly per those rules); if not, feel free to point this out to anyone who gets on your case about it.

    (I’m squarely in the middle. I’m annoyed by people who _ignorantly_ mishandle flags. If it’s a statement, that’s a different matter.)

    1. “I’m annoyed by people who _ignorantly_ mishandle flags. If it’s a statement, that’s a different matter.”

      What he/she/it said.

  10. Whatever on the flags. Harold Washington Library, however, is a wonderful space that more chicago residents should take advantage of. So folks, to hell with your fancy gizmos and reading tablets, get a library card. Be a real cool person, be a library patron.

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