Meaning of flag-draped coffin
Ever wonder what the flag-draped coffin really means? Here is how to understand the flag laid upon a coffin and is surrendered to so many widows and widowers. 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 that the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the U.S. flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day.
The first fold of the flag is a symbol of life.The second fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life. The third 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 fourth fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to him we turn to in times of peace as well as in times of war for his divine guidance. The fifth 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 sixth 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. The seventh 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 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. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood and mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotions that the character of the men and women who have made this great country has been molded.
The tenth 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 eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and king Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrew people's eyes the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christian's eyes, God the father, the son and the holy spirit.
The thirteenth fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding them of their nation's 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 will see flags folded and now you will know why.