Owning an American flag is a tradition for many American families, but it also comes with great responsibility. The American flag is a representation of the country’s values as well as the sacrifices that thousands of men and women in the armed forces make each day.
As a result, this symbol should always be respected. If you own an American flag or are considering getting one, here are a few important things to know about how to fold an American flag properly.
Flag Folding Instructions
American flags need to be folded in a very specific manner as a sign of respect. One of the first things to always remember is that you should never let the fabric touch the ground as it is a sign of utmost disrespect. Those that do touch the ground should traditionally be burned or buried with a special ceremony.
When folding a flag, working with a partner is advised so that you can avoid that scenario. However, if you are working to fold the flag alone, it is acceptable to spread it out on a clean, dry surface such as a dining room table to accomplish the task while maintaining respect.
Steps for Trifolding the American Flag
To make a triangle folded flag, follow these steps:
- Fold the flag lengthwise so that the bottom stripes meet the field of blue.
- Create a second lengthwise fold by bringing the folded edge over again.
- Start to make it into a triangle by folding the striped corner up to the top edge.
- Fold that side again until it looks like a rectangle once more.
- Continue this pattern until you have created 13 folds.
- Finally, tuck the end into the open fold to create a perfect triangle.
Once this is complete, only the field of blue should be seen no matter how you look at it.
Flag Folding Meaning
You might be asking yourself, “Why is the American flag folded 13 times?” The flag folding process may seem a bit tedious and excessive, but each fold is done for a reason and has a specific meaning.
The thirteen folds as a whole symbolize the thirteen original British colonies that America from which America was born. In a full flag folding ceremony, a reading takes place based on religious principles important to the country’s founders.
Here are the specific meanings of each fold in order that would be explained in greater detail in the ceremony reading:
2. Belief in Eternal Life
3. Honor and Remembrance of Departed Veterans
4. Weak Human Nature and Need for God
5. Tribute to the Country
6. Where Our Hearts Lie
7. Tribute to Armed Forces
8. For Those Who Have Died
9. Tribute to Womanhood
10. Tribute to Fathers
11. Glorifies the Jewish God
12. Glorifies the Christian God
13. In God We Trust
The final tri folded flag takes on the appearance of the hat that the founding fathers of the United States of America wore as they fought for freedom.
When to Observe Flag Folding Ceremonies
This flag folding method is also used in military style ceremonies and funerals. American flag folding ceremonies are performed all over the country every Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Additionally, the family members of every deceased veteran receive a beautifully folded flag that was draped on their casket.
The ceremony of removing it from its pole is usually done at dusk, and if done right, then the stripes are folded into the field of blue as the day turns into night. As is Navy and Army custom, this was always done at the last note of retreat.
Where to Find a Great American Flag
Now that you know how to fold an American flag properly and how important it is, you are ready to acquire one for you and your family.
You can get the best American flags at Star Spangled Flags. We offer a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and our flags are made from polyester and nylon designed to withstand UV degradation. When it comes to something as precious as the symbol of our country, don’t settle for something cheaply made in China. Every one of our durable and high-quality products are 100% made in America.
They also make amazing gifts! If you would like to give a patriotic gift this holiday season, our flags come in a beautiful presentation box that makes the perfect present for your loved one. Take a look at our great selection and make your choice today!