The Meaning of the 13 Folds of Old Glory at a Military Funeral

The Core Belief

Here’s a piece of American trivia for you: when Old Glory is folded at a state or military funeral – 13 times in all – each fold has a specific meaning.

Listed below are the descriptions of these 13 representations:

The flag of the United States draped over the casket is meticulously folded 13 times by a total of 8 honor guards, 4 on each side of the casket. The following information describes the symbolic meaning for each fold of the flag.[1]

The first fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold of the flag is a symbol of the people’s belief in the eternal life.

The third fold of the flag is made in honor and remembrance of the Veteran departing ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold of the flag represents the people’s weaker nature. For as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him the people turn to in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold of the flag is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decauter, “Our country, in dealing with the other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”

The sixth fold of the flag is for where people’s hearts lie. It is with hearts that people 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 of the flag is a tribute to the Armed Forces, for it is through them that the people protect the country and flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of the Republic.

The eighth fold of the flag is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that people might see the light of day, and to honor one’s mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold of the flag is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion the character of the men and women who have made the country great molded.

The tenth fold of the flag is a tribute to father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of the country since he or she was first born.

The eleventh fold of the flag, 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.

The twelfth fold of the flag, 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 Ghost.

Upon the thirteenth and final fold of the flag, the stars are uppermost in remembrance of the United States’ national motto, “In God We Trust.”

Who knew?

On this Memorial Day, 2010, I’d like to specifically thank my late great Uncle Walter, my grandfather Russell, Hank, my late father, Sam, Chipmonk, Kenny, Rustin, Irv, Matt, Rudy, Russ, Dave, Sean, Cleave, Dave and all the other servicemen and women who put their lives on the line to protect the Republic.

More missives tomorrow gang!

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