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Veterans Day

Meaning of a Folded American Flag

I recently attended an event to honor our Veterans. I learned something during the ceremony about the meaning behind folding the U.S. flag into a triangle. Folding the American flag into a triangle gives unique honor and respect to the flag.

Meaning of a Folded Flag

Here is the meaning behind each of the 13 folds:

The first fold is a symbol of life.

The second fold is for our belief in eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing rank, who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold stands for our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it’s to Him we turn to in times of peace as well as war for his divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to America. 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 where our heart lies. It’s with our flag that we pledge allegiance to the flag and the republic it stands for.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces. For it is the armed forces that protect our country and flag against enemies, whether they be domestic or foreign.

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 is through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

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

The 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.

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 Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, which some consider the 13th fold; the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors, the Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, and followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces. Together preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we all enjoy today.

The date and source of origin of this flag folding procedure is unknown. According to some sources, it was the Gold Star Mothers of America while others believe it originated from an Air Force chaplain stationed at the United States Air Force Academy. Regardless of its source of origin, it is provided as a patriotic service to all.


What Does Each Flag Fold Mean?