Veterans’ Voices is a new column directed toward veterans and their families who have given so much to ensure our freedom in this country. This is an area where you may share your experiences, or read of other veterans’ experiences. We thank you for your service, and hope that you know how much you are loved and appreciated.
I have been getting emails about the proper way to fold our flag and if there is any meaning to each fold. I thought I would answer those questions below:
There are multiple names for the American flag: “Old Glory,” the “Stars and Stripes,” the “Red White and Blue,” and the “Star-Spangled Banner,” to name a few. The original 13-star version of the flag was first introduced, or unveiled, on June 14, 1777, and that is why June 14 is known as Flag Day. If you’re curious, our current 50-star flag has flown since July 4, 1960.
The art of folding the flag: Have you ever noticed that the honor guard at a funeral pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the flag? The flag is folded exactly 13 times in remembrance of the original 13 colonies. The meaning of each fold is listed as follows.
The first fold symbolizes life.
The second fold represents a belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans who gave their lives in defense of the country in order to help attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold is in recognition of the nature of the country’s citizens to trust in God.
The fifth fold is a tribute to the United States. According to Stephen Decatur, a Naval Commander during the American Revolution and War of 1812, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
The sixth fold symbolizes where people’s hearts lie in keeping with the words of our pledge of 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 previous is the reason why it is so important that we say this pledge daily when we rise in the mornings).
The seventh fold pays tribute to the armed forces. After all, through our armed forces, the United States is protected against all enemies.
The eighth fold is a tribute to those who died, and as Psalm 23 states, “entered into the valley of the shadow of death.”
The ninth fold honors womanhood.
The 10th fold is a tribute to fathers.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in Judaism, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the eyes of Christians, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
The 13th, and last fold, reminds us that, when the flag is completely folded in the uppermost corner, it signifies our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
Additionally, when the flag is completely folded and tucked in, the resulting shape appears like a tricorne hat and represents the soldiers who served under General George Washington, the sailors and marines who served under the Naval Commander John Paul Jones and many who have followed them in order to preserve the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today. So, in the future when you see a flag folded, you will hopefully now have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the tradition.
Email me any questions or comments to AboutVets@yahoo.com.
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— Royal D. Goodman, U.S. Army/Vietnam,
1st Cav/9th Infantry