The Meaning Behind Each Fold of the Flag

Folded Flag

On this day that we celebrate the symbol of our nation I would like to share the flag folding program that explains the reason for each fold. I always knew that a flag should be folded into a triangular shape with the stars on the outside, but never realized how significant it is. No matter what your beliefs are about the state of our country the flag is meant to be a symbol of unity. Take the time today to enjoy the freedoms we have and respect The United States Flag.

We fold from the stripes toward the stars, for whereas the stripes represent the thirteen original colonies, they are now embodied in the fifty sovereign states represented by the stars.

FIRST FOLD – A symbol of life

SECOND FOLD – A symbol of our belief in the eternal life

THIRD FOLD – Made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks and who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

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 times of war for his divine guidance.

FIFTH FOLD – 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 she is still our country, right or wrong.”

SIXTH FOLD – Stands 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.

SEVENTH FOLD – A tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all the enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

EIGHTH FOLD – 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.

NINTH FOLD – A tribute to womanhood it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the characters of the men and women who have made the country great have been molded.

TENTH FOLD – A tribute to father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.

ELEVENTH FOLD – In the eyes of Hebrew citizens, 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.

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.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our National motto, “In God We Trust.”

Patriotism and the United States Flag

United States FlagIt seems that in this age of constantly trying to be politically correct we have lost some of our core values as a country. We are a country that was created on freedom of speech, religion, press and assembly as stated in the first Amendment. The United States Flag is a representation of our nation and these freedoms. After the attack on our country on September 11, 2001 there was a resurgence of people displaying the flag to show their love of our country and patriotism. Unfortunately since then the flag has also been utilized inappropriately as a political statement.

Recently a friend of mine had an experience while waiting in line at a drive thru restaurant where she saw a United States flag sticker that was upside down. She got the driver’s attention and questioned him about this, the person’s response was “Yep, I’m anti Obama,” her response was “Oh, I’m so confused. I didn’t know disliking our president meant being anti- American.” To which the driver responded with an inappropriate gesture. Two days before I heard about her experience I was attending a flag retirement ceremony at the American Legion where we were respectfully going through the process of burning flags that were no longer in condition to be flown (per U.S. Code Title 4 Chapter 1 (k) of the US Flag code). During this ceremony a person rode by on a motorcycle and stated “Oh, it’s just a flag burning.”

Flag retirement
Proper disposal of a flag no longer fit to be flown

These two experiences had me thinking a lot about the flag and the representation that it is of our nation. Growing up, I remember learning that you never burn a flag in protest, that a flag should never touch the ground, and that you should stand and show respect during the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, but beyond that I didn’t know a lot of the rules regarding the American Flag. I decided it is time to know more about this symbol that so quickly and easily establishes that I am proud to be a United States citizen.

The American flag has been an ever changing representation of our growing nation. It represents a nation of independence, individual liberty and popular sovereignty. Our flag is unique because it doesn’t represent a family or royal house. The flag is a representation of all approximately 300 million citizens of the United States. Congress originally decreed that there should be a star and a stripe for each state, the 13 original colonies/states. As our nation began to grow this decree changed to restrict the number of stripes to 13 representing the original states, but a star would be added for each succeeding state. The last star was added in 1959 after Hawaii was admitted as a state by President Eisenhower.

After reading the flag code my friend had every right to question the person displaying a flag upside down because the first item in the flag code states (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. Based on the person’s response I doubt he was in dire distress. As for the person that rode by our flag retirement ceremony, all I can think is that it was an uninformed statement. I know until recently I had never attended or even knew that the American Legion did ceremonies like this, but now I am honored to have been a part of this ceremony and look forward to attending in the future.

I have enjoyed learning more detailed information about the United States Flag and all that it represents. Please stay tuned for additional information in future posts, I would also like to hear your feelings on this national symbol.