The Evidence Of Faith’s Substance Our Heritage as Americans
May 31, 2014
By Ed Croteau
Our Heritage as Americans – The Folding of our Flag: In God We Trust
Deuteronomy 7:21 “You shall not be terrified of them; for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you.”
At military funerals, an honor guard meticulously folds an American flag and presents it to the parents of the fallen soldier. It’s a practice with a rich history. But as our nation moves away from its Christian roots, our children will most likely not be taught the original meaning behind the flag’s ceremonial folds, where the emphasis used to be on our faith as a nation in the God of the Bible who fights for us against our enemies.
Although no one knows the author of the original script, it has become a national tradition. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a statement on October 30, 2007 that if the family of a fallen soldier wishes the original meaning of the folds to be included in the graveside ceremony, it can be included.
As we draw to the close of this Memorial week, take a moment to share with your family the following history of our American flag and the original military recitation at funerals of the folding ceremony. Perhaps we can revive our faith in our God who is the defender of our freedom.
The fifty stars on the flag represent the 50 states and the 13 stripes represent the 13 colonies that rebelled against the British monarchy and became the first states in the union.
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a 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 times 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 to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our 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 to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on mother's day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding 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, 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.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.