Perhaps it’s because I am still morning the loss of my precious Dad in December and the fact that both my parents were WWII veterans; but, I am experiencing some powerful feelings about this year’s 4th of July celebration – even more than I did with Veteran’s Day.
Both my parents received the honor of a military 21-gun salute funeral. As a 50-year and 32-degree Mason, my dad was also honored with a Masonic burial. Both were extremely beautiful and meant a lot to me and my siblings. Until this week, I really did not fully understand the significance of the burial flag or its relevance to my Christian beliefs.
According to Snopes.com, specific meanings have been ascribed to each of the thirteen folds of the American Flag. Like so many, I attributed the thirteen folds to the thirteen colonies. I was totally misinformed.
The first fold of our Flag is a symbol of life. The second fold is a symbol of a Christian’s belief in eternal life. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our Country to attain peace throughout the world. The fourth fold represents our Country’s weaker nature. As trusting Americans, 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. Right or wrong, America is our Country.
The sixth fold represents our allegiance to our Country’s Flag and to the Republic for which she stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces who protect our great Country against her enemies, both within and outside of our boundaries.
The eight fold is a tribute to Jesus. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood for their faith, love, loyalty and devotion in developing character for the men and women who have made our Country great. The tenth fold is a tribute to fathers who have given their sons and daughters for the defense of our Country. 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.
For Christians, the twelfth fold is an emblem of eternity and glorifies in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When the flag is completely folder, the thirteenth fold – with the stars in the uppermost position – reminds us of our Nation’s motto, "In God We Trust."
The folded Flag takes on the appearance of a Colonial cocked hat and is a reminder of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones. They were followed by U.S. Armed Forces comrades and shipmates who continued to preserve the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
The next time you see a flag ceremony honoring someone who has served our Country, take a moment to reflect on their service. Whether they served in the military or as a civilian police officer or fire fighter, they paid the ultimate sacrifice for each of us by truly honoring our flag and our Country.