The Meaning Behind Folding an American Flag

2 min read

Recognized as one of the most important symbols for the United States, the U.S. flag symbolizes freedom, honor, and respect. It represents courage and valor, perseverance and justice, and many other noble emotions.

You must have noticed when there’s a funeral for a veteran, a fallen solider, a fireman, or a police officer, the flag isn’t simply just bundled up and handed over. It is gathered carefully and folded over reverentially as a sign of respect for the flag and what it stands for.

Many people may not know this but the flag is actually folded over 13 times as a nod to the 13 original states and each fold has a special meaning behind it. Let’s take a deeper look at what each fold is symbolic of.

The First Fold is symbolic of life.

The Second Fold is representative of our collective belief in eternal life.

The Third Fold is a tribute to the departed veteran that laid down their life while defending and serving the country.

The Fourth Fold is symbolic of human weakness. It represents that as American citizens, we place our faith and hope in God, trusting Him to tide us over in times of war as well as peace, and asking for His divine guidance in matters of life.

The Fifth Fold is a tribute and acknowledgment of America. As Stephen Decatur so aptly said, “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 symbolic of where our hearts lie. It represents the pledge of allegiance we take to the American flag and the republic which it stands for.

The Seventh Fold is a tribute to the armed forces of the United States as it is them who courageously defend our country against her enemies, whether they’re internal or external. 

The Eighth Fold is for the individual who has crossed the threshold into the valley of the shadow of death. It calls forth hope that they might once again see the light of the day.

The Ninth Fold is a tribute to womanhood. It is through our Mothers who instilled in us love, faith, devotion, and loyalty, carefully nurturing our character so that we can serve our country well.

The Tenth Fold is for fatherhood for it is our Fathers who are role models of strength, leadership, honor, and bravery.

The Eleventh Fold is for the Hebrew citizens and represents the ancient wisdom of King Solomon and King David for their steadfast faith and leadership.

The Twelfth Fold is for Christian Citizens and represents the emblem of eternity, glorifying the Holy Trinity.

The Thirteenth Fold leaves the stars on the banner facing upwards and is symbolic of our national motto, “In God We Trust”.

Once the flag is properly folded, it resembles an 18th century cocked hat reminiscent of the revolutionary soldier under the command of General George Washington. It is because of them that we are living in the land of freedom today.

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