Understanding 13 folds in our American flag

Posted 6/14/19

As patriots across this diverse land called America pause today in observance of Flag Day, we felt it appropriate to answer what could be an unasked question in many homes; that being, is there …

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Understanding 13 folds in our American flag


As patriots across this diverse land called America pause today in observance of Flag Day, we felt it appropriate to answer what could be an unasked question in many homes; that being, is there significance to the 13 folds of Old Glory?


In the homes of many U.S. veterans, and the widows and widowers of those veterans, it is possible this mindful information is already framed and hangs from a prominent location.

We have published this information in previous editorials. The first came June 14, 2013. Frankly, we were surprised then at the number of phone calls, emails and personal comments from those who had never heard the story.

For this reason, we traditionally retell the story on Flag Day.

So again we ask, “Have you ever noticed how the Honor Guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times?”

It comes with purpose. From this point going forward, let us quote directly from already established narrative, as taken from several website sources. It is titled, “The Meaning of the 13 Folds of the American Flag.”

It reads:

“The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

“The 2nd 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 war for His divine guidance.

“The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for 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 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 through 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 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 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 Gen. George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Capt. 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.”

For those who still fervently cling to the uncompromised ideals, and to the original values of our America — whether they are written or merely understood — the above passages carry great meaning and incredible weight in determining our balance in life.

Ours is not a perfect country. But she is our country. She has stood tall when others have fallen. She has fought for what is right when others have cowered. She has defended the defenseless when others have turned away. She has spoken for those without a voice when others have kept their silence. She has shown without condition why she is the land of the free and the home of the brave. She has pursued the cause of America even as some might believe America has lost her cause.

America has changed, but her core values remain.

Such is why we retell the story of the folds of her flag. It is a story worth the telling. It is a message worth the hearing.


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