Flag Folding & Meanings
LL CUB SCOUTS and
how to prop-erly
American flag, says Tab Taylor,
a Scout in troop No. 232 and
Wrightsville Beach resident.
“We learn about how it
shouldn’t touch the ground,” he
explains. “We fold it lengthwise
until it’s folded in a triangular
shape, and then tuck whatever’s
left into a triangle.”
The triangular shape is the
proper way to fold the flag in all
circumstances, from the daily
lowering at sundown to solemn,
formal ceremonies at funerals.
Once folded, the flag can be
stored in a box, displayed in a
special case or, at military funer-als,
presented to the deceased’s
widow or other family members.
What may come as a surprise
is that there is no standard-ized
law for the flag-folding
ceremony, nor a meaning for
each fold of the flag, says Col.
Gary O. Green, secretary of the
North Carolina SAR. The United
States military, the National Flag
Foundation, the Boy Scouts, and
the American Legion all ascribe
different symbolic meanings for
the steps involved.
For a flag retirement cer-emony
at Oakdale Cemetery
in June, the SAR followed the
American Legion’s flag-folding
script, which “represents the
same religious principles on
which our great country was
originally founded,” the organi-zation
Tab Taylor fold
Wynn Plaza in
fold has a
In the American Legion’s version, the symbols for
each fold of the flag are as follows (paraphrased):
1 The first fold signifies a symbol of life.
The second fold illustrates Americans’ belief in eternal life.
The third fold honors and remembers a veteran who gave
a portion of his or her life in defense of the United States.
The fourth fold represents belief in God, trusting in
Him in times of war and peace, for divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to the United States of Amer-ica,
and includes a quote from 19th-century Naval hero
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 symbolizes where our hearts lie, as
Americans. It emphasizes that the Pledge of Allegiance
is recited with hands over hearts, and that we pledge
allegiance to the republic for which the flag stands.
The seventh fold honors the country’s armed forces,
both those stationed at home and abroad in defense
of our nation.
The eighth fold honors mothers, for whom it flies on
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, the American
Legion script reads, “for it has been through their faith,
love, loyalty and devotion that the character of men and
women who have made this country great have been
The 10th fold is a tribute to fathers, as they, too, have
given sons and daughters for the defense of our
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal
of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in the
eyes of Hebrew citizens, the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Finally, the 12th fold, through the eyes of the Christian
citizen, represents God the Father, the Son, and the