Our country was founded on religious principles, and even the folding of the flag shows forth this wonderful truth.
Avenue of FlagsThe point of honor of the flag of the United States is a canton of blue containing the stars representing the states our veterans served in uniform. The point of honor of our flag dresses from the left to the right and the only time it is inverted and displayed in the manner in which you see it today is when it comes to serve as a pall on the casket of a veteran who has served his/her country honorably in uniform.
In the evening, in the armed forces of the United States, at the ceremony of retreat after Taps have been sounded, the flag is lowered and folded in a triangle fold, and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation's honored dead. The next morning it is brought out, at the ceremony of Reveille, and run up aloft as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life; and the next fold we make in honor and remembrance of this veteran whom we are commemorating today, for he/she, too, gave of a portion of his/her life for the defense of our country and our flag; and we are here today to perform this flag-folding ceremony in order to show this veteran's family and friends that his/her efforts to attain peace throughout the world have not been in vain and shall never be forgotten.
We fold to the right in the shape of a triangle representing our weaker nature; for we, as American citizens trust in God, and it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His Divine guidance.
We fold again to the right as a tribute to our country; for in the words of the immortal Stephen Decatur, "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
We fold to the left in the shape of a triangle, for this is where our hearts lie - and it is with our hearts that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
We fold again to the left as a tribute to our armed forces; for it is through these same 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.
We fold to the right as a tribute to the One who entered in the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day; and this fold is made to honor Mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
We fold again to the right as a tribute to our womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the characters of the men that have made this country great have been molded.
We fold to the left as a tribute to Father, for he too has given of his sons for the defense of our country, since she was first born.
We fold from the stripes toward the stars; for whereas the stripes represent the thirteen original colonies that founded our republic, and they are now embodied in the fifty sovereign states represented by the stars, so that the stars cover the stripes.
We fold to the right in the shape of a triangle, for in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, this represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
We fold once more to the right in the shape of a triangle, for in the eyes of a Christian citizen, this represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies in their eyes God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, which reminds us of our national 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; and they, followed by their comrades and shipmates in the armed forces of the United States, have preserved for us the rights, privileges, and freedom which we are enjoying today.
Version by William F. Spivey
Director, Houston National Cemetery