SERVING OUR VETERANS: The 13 folds of the U.S. flag
As United States citizens, we once again recently celebrated Memorial Day and the 4th of July holidays. These are the two days of the year in which flying the U.S. Flag is most prevalent. Since September 11, 2001, it seems to me our citizens have shown a stronger commitment and enthusiasm to fly our nation’s flag. This is a good practice for it is under this symbol all our veterans served and took an oath to preserve and defend our freedom. I am sure you have observed the ceremonial folding of our flag at a military funeral or other occasion. Did you know that it involves 13 folds and each fold symbolizes a different message?
1. The first fold of our flag symbolizes life.
2. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
3. The third 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.
4. The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; for as American citizens trusting, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
5. The fifth 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.”
6. The sixth fold is where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the Flag.
7. The seventh 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 are found within or without the boundaries of our Republic.
8. The eighth 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.
9. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; 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.
10. The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
11. The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
12. The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
13. When the flag is completely folded, which some consider the thirteenth fold; the stars are uppermost reminding us of our Nation’s motto, “In God we trust.” After the Flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.
If you were not familiar with the meaning behind each fold, neither was I, until recently. I have to give credit to where credit is due. My good friend and fellow veteran, Doug Meier, called me one day and said he had also recently found this information and thought it would be a good subject for one of my columns. Thank you, Doug. Hopefully knowing this about the thirteen symbolic folds will add even a deeper appreciation for our country’s flag and watching the ceremonial folding, make it even more dignified and special.
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