By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
When the Vietnam Traveling Wall was in Imperial two weeks ago, it was an educational as well as emotional experience.
While sitting at the ceremony April 24, a number of people expressed surprise upon learning the steps for folding the American flag and what each fold means.
VFW Post 4688 Auxiliary President Sue Moore described each fold while Post members Michal Swanson and P.J. Pajerski demonstrated.
The flag is folded 13 times for the following reasons:
The first fold is a symbol of life. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and 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.
The fourth fold represents our 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 fifth fold is a tribute to our 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 our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we 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 seventh fold is a tribute to the Armed Forces, for 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.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in 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 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 our 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 Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, allows the stars to be uppermost, reminding us of our 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 us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
This information was provided by the American Legion Auxiliary.