Saturday, September 17, 2011

Little Known Significance of Flag Folding Ceremony Revealed

by Rev. Austin Miles
Under the direction of Lt. Colonel Timothy Vaughn, Commander of The Army Cardets of California, a 10th Anniversary Observance of the 9-11 Attacks on America was held at Crockett Park in Oakley, California last Sunday with a military folding-of- the-flag ceremony.
The flag was presented to an individual who accepted it on behalf of all Americans who were affected by the cowardly surprise Muslim attacks on unarmed civilians in New York City, Washington, D.C. and an intended one that ended in a field in Pennsylvania after the Muslims were overpowered by passengers on Flight 93 airmed at hitting either The White House or The Capitol Building in D.C.. That plane crashed in a field..Everyone on board were killed. Had it not been for the heroic actions of the passengers, that death toll would have been much higher.
This ceremony in Oakley was one of the only flag folding ceremonies that explained what each fold meant. Following that beautiful ceremony a man stated that he had two such flags that were presented to him, but this was the first time that he learned what the 13 folds meant. This is why it was decided to share this with our readers.
Lt. Col. Vaughn provided the information: First of all, the national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a rectangle in the canton (referred to as the union) bearing fifty small white, 5 point stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of 5 stars.
The fifty stars on the flag represent the 50 states and the 13 stripes represent the 13 colonies that rebelled against the British monarchy and became the first states in the union.
Another bit of interesting information: Most everyone is familiar with the 21 Gun Salute. The 21 Gun Salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776.
Those who have attended miltary services cannot help but notice how the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American Flag 13 times. Many assume that it was to symobolize the original 13 colonies. As the late Paul Harvey would say, "Here is the REST of the story."
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The 3rd 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 4th 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 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
The 6th 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 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is thorugh The Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The 8th 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.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and mothers. 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 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he too has given his sons and daughters for defense of our country since they were first born.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the Seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or 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.
This is one of the many traditions of our country that has deep meaning. And let us keep those meanings in the highest level of honor in our hearts.