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WHY THE AMERICAN FLAG IS FOLDED 13 TIMES

American Flag History from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation

From Paulette Korte, Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Images from Sam Burns
7/1/2022


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Have you ever wondered why the flag of the United States of America is folded 13 times when it is lowered or when it is folded and handed to the widow at the burial of a veteran? Here is the meaning of each of those folds and what it means to you.
 
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 are found within or without the boundaries of our Republic.
 
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 first born.
 
I'll fold your flag baby...
I'll fold your flag baby...


 
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.
 
The next time you see a flag ceremony honoring someone that has served our country, either in the Armed Forces or in our civilian services such as the Police Force or Fire Department, keep in mind all the important reasons behind each and every movement. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us by honoring our flag and our Country.

—From Paulette Korte
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
 
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Reader Comments


The U.S. flag has protocols for handling and display. Other than this, the article is just one of the variations of "why" that was dreamed up and repeated enough times to become another one of our heart-felt "facts".

There are stories about the U.S. Air Force's role in this protocol but are officially denied. There is no shortage of scripts available that can be read aloud during a flag folding. Traditional flag etiquette prescribes that before an American flag is stored or presented, its handlers should twice fold it in half lengthwise; then (from the end opposite the blue field) make a triangular fold, continuing to fold it in triangles until the other end is reached. This makes a triangular “pillow” of the flag with only the blue starred field showing on the outside, and it takes thirteen folds to produce: two lengthwise folds and eleven triangular ones.

The American flag isn’t folded in this manner because each of the folds has a special symbolic meaning; the flag is folded this way because it provides a dignified ceremonial touch that distinguishes folding a flag from folding an ordinary object such as a bedsheet and because it results in a visually pleasing, easy-to-handle shape. This thirteen-fold procedure was a common practice long before the creation of a ceremonial assignation of “meaning” to each of the steps.


Sam
TX
Monday, July 4, 2022
Editor Response Thanks for this and for all your contributions to Bikernet and the country.
--Bandit

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