July 4th marks our annual flag retiring ritual

Posted By on July 5, 2010


America’s Independence Day marks the day our family (well … me really) puts up a new flag. Usually the old flag makes it about a year, although a few of the cheaper ones have deteriorated much quicker.  I’ve pretty much decided that the stitched and embroidered nylon flags hold up the best. replacingflags_3667 The pile of retired flags is starting to grow in our “flag cabinet,” although I’m missing a few from our early years.

I saved a forwarded email earlier this year for the flag changing occasion, but have since realized it wasn’t entirely accurate when stating that “traditionally each of the 13 folds had a specific meaning.”

Nevertheless, the meanings seem appropriate and worth incorporating in a flag folding routine.

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief 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 time 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 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 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 tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh 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 twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

The thirteenth fold: When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our national 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 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."

The next time you see a flag ceremony honoring someone that has served our country, either in the Armed Forces or in our civilian services such as the Police force or Fire Department, keep in mind all the important reasons behind each and every movement. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us by honoring our flag and our Country.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.