Oct. 26, 2019

When a U.S. military veteran dies, an American Flag is provided in honor of his or her service. This flag is ultimately folded 13 times, each fold is rich with symbolic meaning; it appears as a triangle, with only the stars visible.

Kylie Newsom Licensed Funeral Director, Longview Funeral Home & Cemetery

These stars are meant to provide a reminder of our nation’s motto—that we are “One Nation Under God.” Meanwhile, no red stripes should be visible, for the red stripes represent the shedding of blood.

One practical question is this: To whom is this flag actually given? Depending on the position held by the fallen service member, the flag will be bequeathed by either a military or civil officer, and it is typically given directly to the next of kin.

Often, this will be a surviving spouse, but in some cases, it may be the eldest child or even the eldest grandchild.

Needless to say, this flag has some symbolic weight attached to it. It’s not just any flag, but a special flag that’s been set apart to honor the service and sacrifice of the deceased military member. It is offered on behalf of the entire Armed Services and the President of the United States.

The next time you attend a military funeral service, pay close attention both to the careful folding of the flag, but also to the receipt of that flag by a member of the family—a moment that is rich in emotion and meaning.

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