In the coming weeks, we will visit through TV and news reports the
funerals of many people. In those clips, we will see the folding of our
flag over the caskets of many victims of last week. When you see this, I
want you to remember something very special. Those whose bodies are laid
to earthly rest will be honored by a tradition of folding the American
This is not just a nice gesture, but has great meaning from our history--a
history which even terror cannot overcome. And so, as you get the lumps
in your throats, tears in your eyes, and struggle with bitterness, anger,
and frustration, here is something to remember how special these people
So here's our question, "Why is the Flag is Folded 13 Times?"
Have you ever noticed on TV or at military funerals that the honor guard
pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times?
I've known how the 21 gun salute was determined (adding the individual
digits of 1776), but only recently learned why the flag was folded 13
times when it is lowered or when it is folded and handed to the widow at
the burial of a veteran. Here it is:
The first fold of our flag 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 of
our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth 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 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."
The sixth 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 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 be found within or without the boundaries of our
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
mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
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.
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
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.
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 Holy Spirit.
When the flag is completely folded, 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.
There are some traditions and ways of doing things which have deep
meaning. You will see many flags folded in the coming weeks, and now you
will know why.