St. Johns County Rescues 11,000 American Flags

As people across the United States of America prepare to celebrate Flag Day on June 14, St. Johns County announces it has rescued more than 11,000 American flags through its American Flag Rescue Program.

The County started its American Flag Rescue Program in 2019. The program allows residents to properly retire flags with honor and respect. American Flag Drop boxes are available to the public at more than 35 locations throughout St. Johns County. In February 2024, the 10,000th flag was collected at the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s office. A special video was produced with Tax Collector Dennis Hollingsworth to celebrate the milestone.

The County’s Recycling Coordinator, Christopher Benjamin, founded the America Flag Rescue Program. He said, “After seeing two American flags discarded in a drop-off trash container at the County landfill, I proposed and was given permission to initiate an effort to establish public access for collecting and properly retiring old and worn American flags. A pilot program commenced in December 2019 with collection boxes donated by WSOS radio station owner Kevin Geddings. The community’s response has been incredible. More than 11,000 flags have been gathered to date.”

Benjamin explained that the VFW Post 2391 in St. Augustine conducts the official decommission ceremonies, and seven retired veterans have enlisted to monitor and maintain the various collection sites. He proudly shared, “The Star-Spangled Banner truly has a safe and honorable resting place in St. Johns County!”

A Proclamation in recognition and support of the American Flag Rescue Program spearheaded by the Solid Waste Division of the St. Johns County Public Works Department will be presented at the June 18 meeting of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing June 14 as National Flag Day. Congressional legislation designating that date as National Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949.

There are American Flag Rescue Program flag drop-off locations throughout the community, including County libraries, annexes, and every Ace Hardware store in St. Johns County.