Flag retirement ceremonies

veteran’s corner

Jason Hicks

June 14th was Flag day, which commemorates the date in which the 2nd Continental Congress declared that the American flag would have 13 stripes alternating red and white and 13 stars, white in a field of blue, 1777.

Across the country many veterans organizations conduct a flag retirement ceremony. It is a somber occasion in which a flag is ceremoniously burned. There is no photography allowed at these events. At the Dilworth VFW we have been assisting the boy scouts in this ceremony for years. Always well attended and respectful. If you ever get a chance to attend a ceremony please do so. This is the only acceptable way of disposing of a worn / torn flag. Every veteran organization accepts flags that can no longer be displayed and each year we dispose of them.

Speaking of flags and etiquette, did you know that when a flag is folded at a military funeral it is folded 13 times? Yes, and for the exact same reason there are 13 stripes.

The flag-folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great country was originally founded.

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 veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

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

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country. 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 enemies, whether they be 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 our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood. It has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that has molded the character of the men and women who have made this country great.

The 10th fold is a tribute to father, who has also given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.

The 13th and last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.” Info from military.com

The triangle shape of the flag represents the tri corned hats worn by continental soldiers. 

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