FORCE FLAG FOLDING CEREMONIES
In July last year (several years ago now), the Air Force began phasing out this
unofficial script that had been traditionally read at some flag folding
ceremonies. The script attached meaning to each of the 13 folds.
Officials say it was written by an anonymous chaplain at the U.S. Air
Force Academy in the 1980s. Source of the following was: http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Jul-04-Tue-2006/news/8304650.html
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The flag folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on
which our country was originally founded. The portion of the flag
denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing
the states our veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue
dresses from left to right and is inverted when draped as a pall on a
casket of a veteran who has served our country in uniform.
In the armed forces of the United States, at the ceremony of retreat the
flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold and kept under watch
throughout the night as a tribute to our nation's honored dead. The next
morning it is brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as
a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.
(Wait for the Honor Guard or flag detail to unravel and fold the flag
into a quarter fold. Resume reading when Honor Guard is standing ready.)
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing
our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to
attain a peace throughout the world.
The fourth 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
times of war for his divine guidance.
The fifth 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 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 her
enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of
the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor
mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their
faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and
women who have made this country great have been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons
and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
The 11th fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower
portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in
their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem
of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are
uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God we
(Wait for the Honor Guard or Flag Detail to inspect the flag. After the
inspection, resume reading.)
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.