The American flag is a symbol of our country. Most of us recognize that the stripes represent the 13 original colonies and the stars represent the 50 states. The colors convey a deeper meaning, symbols for what we have fought and died for. The red represents courage, hardiness and valour, the white represents purity and innocence, and blue vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
At a military funeral we honor our fallen with gun salutes, TAPS, and a flag folding ceremony. Like most military traditions there is an etiquette and precision to folding the flag. This includes a memorial or ceremony where there is no body present. In this instance protocol states the flag is brought to the ceremonial shelter folded. The flag is then unfurled one last time prior to the official flag folding ceremony. The triangle-shaped flag is then presented to the family on “behalf of a grateful nation and the President of the United States”. And guess what? Even the 13 individual folds of the flag have meaning and symbolism.
- The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
- The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
- The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
- The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
- The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country,” in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country right or wrong.
- The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that “We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
- The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
- The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.
- The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
- The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for defense of our country since they were first born.
- The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
- The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”
Forever indebted to those who protect our freedoms.
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