May 7, 2019

Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Collection of Worn American Flags for Proper Disposal

Watchfire event

Flags Will Be Accepted Through May 22

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Office of General Services will collect worn and tattered flags at locations statewide so that they can be properly retired. The collected flags will be disposed of as part of the Memorial Watchfire hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 103, on Sunday, May 26 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Information on the Watchfire can be found here.

“The American flag is our nation’s powerful symbol of freedom and justice and should be retired properly with respect and honor,” Governor Cuomo said. “This year we are offering drop-off locations across the entire state and I encourage all New Yorkers with a worn flag to visit one of these locations to ensure their flag is properly disposed of.”

The Office of General Services has set up drop-off locations across the state for businesses and individuals to bring their flags. All flags collected will be properly folded prior to disposal. The drop-off locations will be collecting donations from Tuesday, May 7 through Wednesday, May 22.

Jim McDonough, Director, New York State Division of Veterans' Services said, "The American flag more than any other symbol in our nation inspires a sense of hope, pride and courage to all those who serve under it. We take great care to commemorate and honor the American flag. The annual Watchfire ensures this American symbol is retired with dignity and respect. We are grateful to the Office of General Services for the proper collection of these flags, the Vietnam Veterans of America for their work in retiring these flags at the Watchfire and we are honored to be a partner once again in this annual tradition.”

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “OGS staff take great pride in flying the flag over our State office buildings each day and are honored to help ensure that these worn flags are retired with respect.”

Bill Martin, Watchfire Committee Chair, said, "We appreciate New York State's efforts to collect these flags to ensure they are properly retired with dignity at the Watchfire. For decades we have done this event and it's a privilege to do it, to honor our Veterans and to retire these flags properly."

Senator John E. Books, Chair, Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs said, "As our nation's foremost symbol we salute and pledge our allegiance to the Flag when it flies high, but we must also show honor when the time comes for it to be retired. I am proud to join Governor Cuomo in this effort so that worn out flags can be memorialized and properly disposed of with dignity and respect."

Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Chair, Committee on Veterans' Affairs said, “Old Glory is a symbol of our rich history and shared American values, and should always be retired in a respectful manner. The Memorial Watchfire is a good opportunity for New Yorkers to properly dispose of damaged and worn flags, and reflect on the many sacrifices their fellow Americans have made in defense of the liberty and freedom that our flag represents. As chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs’ Committee, I am hopeful that people across the state will take this opportunity to be part of this annual tradition and support New York veterans, past and present. I am grateful to the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) for hosting this event, and to the Office of General Services for offering this service.” ‎

The drop-off locations are as follows:

•Alfred E. Smith Building, 80 South Swan St., Albany

•New York State Capitol, Washington Avenue, Albany

•Empire State Plaza Main Concourse, Empire State Plaza, Albany

•Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza, Albany

•Agency Buildings 1,2,3,4 - Empire State Plaza, Albany

•Legislative Office Building Empire State Plaza, Albany

•Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice Empire State Plaza, Albany

•Swan Street Building, Core 2 and Core 3, Empire State Plaza, Albany

•Harriman Campus Buildings 5, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 12 Harriman Campus, 1220 Washington Ave., Albany

•Ten Eyck Building, 40 North Pearl St., Albany

•50 Wolf Road, Albany

•625 Broadway, Albany

•Hampton Plaza, 38-40 State St., Albany

•44 Holland Ave., Albany

•328 State St., Schenectady

•Senator John J. Hughes State Office Building, 333 E. Washington St., Syracuse

•New York State Fairgrounds (Gate 2 Security Station), 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse

•Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown

•Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica

•Homer Folks Facility, 28 Hill Street, Suite 327, Oneonta

•Eleanor Roosevelt State Office Building, 4 Burnett Blvd., Poughkeepsie

•Henderson-Smith State Office Building, 107 Broadway, Hornell

•Binghamton State Office Building, 44 Hawley St., Binghamton

•NYSP Troop E Zone 1 Station, 1155 Scottsville Road, Rochester

•Senator Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court St., Buffalo

•Perry B. Duryea State Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge

•Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, 163 West 125th St., New York City

•Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building, 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn