June 14 was Flag Day. Men in our family have been proud members of the military: Art was a Marine, Bud was in the Army, my grandnephew, Kevin, is in the Air Force. Instilled in them, now and then, was love for our country and her flag. With that being said, I offer you a column I wrote several years ago.
At Art’s grave site, I watched with tears and pride as the two young Marines silently and carefully folded his flag. I recalled Art telling me that each fold had a distinct meaning. For my own satisfaction, I needed to know what each fold represented. The American Legion website gave me my answer, explaining the Folds of the Flag, which I share with you (edited for space).
“First fold is a symbol of life.
Second is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
Third fold is in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country.
Fourth represents American citizens trusting in God whom we turn to in times of peace as well as in times of war.
Fifth fold is a tribute to our country.
Sixth fold is where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.
Seventh is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they are found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
Eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death.
Ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion, the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
Tenth is a tribute to father, for he too has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country.
Eleventh in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, this fold 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.
Twelfth fold in the eyes of Christian citizens represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”
When the flag is completely folded and tucked in, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto: “In God We Trust.” Thoughts, words and an honorable tradition to consider: carefully read and reflect on them.
In the movie, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” James Cagney sang and danced his way through George M. Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Flag:”
“You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘Neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.”
Proudly fly the stars and stripes with love—we do!