May 30 was set aside, before the end of the Civil War, as a day of remembrance for those who have died in our Nation's service; that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We so have made it into a convenient holiday off work to bbq, picnic, play & relax.
A conversation with my Physical Therapist (for my healing broken elbow), who is a Veteran of our Armed Forces, actually inspired this post. As we spoke about the precious meaning of our Nation's flag, I was thinking: "I should blog about that!" (Does this mean I HAVE entered the blogosphere??)Not meant to be a downer by any means; I am passionately patriotic and I think this is a fitting post in honor of Memorial Day. I pray this information will be a blessing to you, as it was to me!
As a military custom, the flag is lowered daily at the last note of retreat. In the folding, the red and white stripes are finally wrapped into the blue, as the light of day vanishes into the darkness of night. This custom is reserved for the United States Flag alone.
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.
At the ceremony of retreat the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold & kept under watch throughout the night as 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.
You may have noticed that the flag is folded 13 times when it is lowered and when it is handed to the widow at the burial of a Veteran. If you haven't, you will from now on!
HERE is the traditional meaning:
1st fold - a symbol of life.
2nd fold - a symbol of our belief in ETERNAL life.
3rd fold - made in honor & 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.
4th fold - represents our weaker nature. 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.
5th fold - a tribute to our country. In the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but she is still our country, right or wrong."
6th fold - 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.
7th fold - a tribute to our Armed Forces. 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.
8th fold - a tribute to the ONE Who entered into the "valley of the shadow of death," that we might see the Light of Day!
9th fold - a tribute to womanhood and our mothers. It has been through their faith, love, loyalty & devotion that the character of the men & women who have made this country great has been molded.
10th fold - a tribute to the father. He, too, has GIVEN his sons and daughters FOR the defense of our country since they were first born.
11th fold - represents the lower portion of the seal of King David & King Solomon and glorifies the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen.
12th fold - represents an emblem of eternity & glorifies GOD the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, in the eyes of a Christian citizen.
13th & final fold - 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 & tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat. Which reminds us of the Soldiers who served under General George Washington and the Sailors & Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, followed by their comrades & shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, who are preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms that we enjoy TODAY!
There are some traditions and ways of doing things which have DEEP meaning. Now you know why our flag is folded so precisely. Share this with the children you love ... and with others who love the symbol of "LIBERTY and FREEDOM."
This Memorial Day weekend, and always, when you see our flag displayed or folded, think about what it represents ... and what it costs!
*** To ALL of our Veterans and their families: a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU for your service to our country and for your sacrifices!!!!