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By Steve Erdman
47th District 

Folds of the American Flag


June 14th is flag day. Flag Day is a day to honor the American flag.

It is a time to proudly fly the Stars and Stripes, to recall our American heritage, to honor our values of liberty and justice for all, and to celebrate the republic of the United States for which it stands.

Many American soldiers have risked their lives and even died to protect that star spangled piece of cloth that we recognize as the American flag. For example, during the days of the American Civil War color sergeants were chosen to carry the American flag into battle.

Because these men did not carry a rifle, they depended upon their color guard, which consisted of a small contingent of troops, to protect them on the battlefield. The 24th Michigan Regiment lost nine color bearers on the first day of fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. To lose a flag to the Confederate army was considered to be an enormous defeat and a disgrace to the Union.

Whenever an American soldier or a U.S. veteran dies, the surviving family members may request an American flag. Honor guards at a military funeral service treat the American flag with great dignity and enormous respect. Whenever they fold an American flag, color guards make 13 crisp folds in the flag, and each one of those folds holds a significant meaning.

According to the National Flag Foundation the 13 folds of the American flag hold the following meanings:

The first fold of the American flag represents life.

The second fold represents eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor of the veteran or service member who has departed this life, but who gave a portion of his life or her life in service to the country.

The fourth fold represents our human nature which must trust in God for divine guidance.

The fifth fold is made in honor of our country, may she always be right.

The sixth fold is made for the devotion of the heart, for we place our hand over our hearts whenever we pledge our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

The seventh fold is a tribute to the armed forces, who have protected the flag against all our enemies.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered 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 through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion the character of men and women who have built our country have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to fathers, who have given their sons and daughters in defense of our country.

The eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and Kind Solomon and glorifies the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Finally, the thirteenth and last fold recalls our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

So, please fly your flag proudly on June 14th. As you do so, try to remember all of these things that the American flag stands for. The American flag represents our country and is worthy of our honor and respect.


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