When I was almost 14 years old, I watched, as the flag of my brother’s coffin was folded and presented to my mother; an image which seared itself into the very depths of my soul, and one I have revisited in my thoughts many, many times throughout the years.
For those who have never had the honor or privilege of attending a military funeral, I can not adequately express how beautiful, sacred, and honorable the ceremonial traditions and customs of the United States Military are. Our service men and women are truly the world’s finest. (If you would like to see a movie that clearly depicts the respect and honor with which a service member who has died on active duty is treated upon his/her escort home, then watch “Taking Chance” with actor Kevin Bacon…a true story…and one you will not forget.)
I felt compelled to share the following because I think that many in the world (and even our own nation and government) have forgotten the Christian principles on which the United States of America was founded.
After learning more about the beautiful tradition of “The Flag that Drapes the Coffin”) I am once again going back in time to the young men who laid the folded flag in the arms of my mother, and I am so thankful…so honored…so proud…and so blessed to be an American citizen.
I will be sharing this lesson with my children in our classes this morning. I invite you to share it with your family today, as well: (The words below are not my own, but were passed on to me by a friend):
Meaning of Flag Draped Coffin:
Our founding fathers used God’s Word and teachings to establish our great nation.
Pass it along and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to protect our ‘GOD GIVEN’ rights and freedoms.
I hope you take the time to read this … to understand what the flag draped coffin really means …
Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?
Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!
The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.
The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.
The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.
The 4th fold represents the 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 5th fold is a tribute to the 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 6th fold is for where people’s hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America , and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.
The 8th 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.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their Nations 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 them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.
There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning.
In the future, you’ll see flags folded and now you will know why.
Copyright 2011 Judy Dudich