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Flag Day – Meaning of Folding the Flag 13 Times

On Flag Day,  June 14th, several Sir Knights  had the privilege and honor to participate in a Flag Retirement Ceremony that was being held at our local VFW Post.

On Flag Day, we honor our Flag, and in addition, we retire those Flags, that may be torn and frayed, in a very respectful way. The VFW post was retiring their Flag, and they asked our Assembly to participate in it’s retirement. Part of the retirement ceremony is to properly fold the Flag, by folding it 13 times.

We have all been to funerals of Veterans, where the Honor Guard folds the Flag that draped the Veteran’s coffin, and handed it to the spouse or parents of the fallen Veteran. We probably never noticed that the Flag was meticulously folded 13 times, or even knew what each fold represented. I was part of the folding team, and before each fold, our team leader read the following so that all in attendance understood the significance of this ceremony.

The 1st fold of our Flag is a symbol of Life.

The 2nd fold of our Flag is a symbol of our belief in Eternal Life.

The 3rd fold of our Flag 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 4th fold of our Flag 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.

The 5th fold of our Flag is a tribute to our Country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she be always right, but it is still our Country, right or wrong”.

The 6th fold of our Flag 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 7th fold of our Flag is a tribute to the Armed Forces, for it is through them that we protect our Country and our Flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within our without the boundaries of our Republic.

The 8th fold of our Flag is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold of our Flag is a tribute to womanhood and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, their loyalty, and their devotion, that the character of the men and women that have made this country great, has been molded.

The 10th fold of our Flag 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 11th fold of our Flag represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in the Hebrew’s eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The 12th fold of our Flag represents and emblem of eternity, and glorifies in the Christian eyes, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold of our Flag, or when the Flag is completely folded, the stars are in the uppermost, reminding us of our Nation’s motto, “In God We Trust”.

After the Flag is completely folded, then tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the Soldiers that 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.

In the future, you may see a Flag folded, and now you will know the significance of each of the steps.

Prepared by Joseph Morrone – June 14,  2013

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