If you have you ever noticed on TV, in documentaries, in movies, or at a military funeral that the honor guard folds the “Old Glory” exactly 13 times? The American flag is folded 13 times to represent the original 13 colonies. The honor guard also pays meticulous attention of correctly folding the American flag as well. Some military traditions and rituals have a deep patriotic meaning, and this one especially should always be honored, and should never be taken lightly. Government schools stopped teaching these facts about our military tradition in 1955.
The meaning of each folding is as follows:
The first fold of the stars and stripes is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
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 and protection of our country and to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to our Father in Heaven that we turn to in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of the Patriot Stephen Decatur, “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge our 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 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 foreign or domestic, whether they are found within or out of the boundaries of our republic.
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, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through women giving their faith, love, loyalty and devotion to this country, that the character of all Americans has been molded.
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.
The eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and that glorifies in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
The thirteenth fold completes the folded flag with the stars are on top reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”
When the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, that serves as a reminder to 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 during the Revolutionary War, preserving for us all the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
When the flag is used to cover a casket in a military funeral, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should never be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
The folding ceremony is followed by a 21 gun salute. This is a ritual that we pay to those that has served our great nation. Did you know that the 21 gun salute was determined by adding the individual digits of the year 1776, (the year of the birth of our nation) to total 21?
I pray that those who read the above will now understand what true patriotism means, and how we can never completely separate government from religion. God and country and always been a perfect blend that should never be taken for granted or abolished in the United State of America.