What Do the Folds of the Flag Mean?
Post by: Ask The Director

In the memorial service of any U.S. military veteran, the American flag plays a vibrant role. One of the key moments in the ceremony comes when the flag that’s draped over the casket is taken up and carefully folded into a triangle shape.

What you may not know is that the flag is folded a total of 13 times—and that each fold of the flag has rich symbolic meaning.


  • The first fold symbolizes life.
  • The second fold indicates a belief in everlasting life.
  • The third fold honors the service member who has departed, after sacrificing a portion of their life to keep the rest of us safe and secure.
  • The fourth fold denotes our weaker nature as citizens, and our ongoing trust in God to guide us.
  • The fifth fold stands for the country itself, and our belief that, though the country may sometimes be wrong or right, it’s always our country.
  • The sixth fold represents the heart, with which we pledge allegiance and honor our nation.
  • The seventh fold is a tribute to the Armed Forces that safeguard our land.
  • The eighth fold represents the person who has descended into the Valley of Death’s Shadow; it also honors the mother, for whom the flag is flown on Mother’s Day.
  • The ninth fold honors the character of womanhood and the men and women who together have shaped this country.
  • The tenth fold represents the father, for he, too, has sacrificed his sons and daughters to protect this land.
  • The eleventh fold is seen, in the eyes of Jewish individuals, as representing the seal of King David and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  • The twelfth fold is significant to Christian believers, who see it as an emblem of eternal life and of the Trinity.
  • The final fold of the flag allows us to see only the stars, which remind us of our nation’s identity as "one nation under God.”
 
There is much depth and beauty even to something as simple as the folding of a flag; remember this rich symbolism the next time you see a U.S. veteran honored in this way.

 

  

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