You should comply with the U.S. Flag Code at all times when handling the American flag. Originating in 1923, the U.S. Flag Code is a federal law consisting of rules for displaying and caring for the American flag. If you’re planning to transport or store the American flag, however, you might be wondering how to fold it. When folding the American flag, you’ll need to handle it. And anytime that you handle the American flag you should comply with the U.S. Flag Code. What’s the required method for folding the American flag exactly?
The US Flag Code Doesn’t Require a Specific Folding Method
You might be surprised to learn that the U.S. Flag Code doesn’t require a specific folding method for the American flag. It contains over a dozen provisions related to the American flag, but the U.S. Flag Code doesn’t call for a specific folding method.
The only mention of folding in the U.S. Flag Code pertains to how the American flag is displayed. According to the U.S. Flag Code, the American flag should never be displayed “in folds.” Rather, it should be displayed freely so that there are no wrinkles, creases or folds in it.
Follow the Traditional Folding Method
Even though the U.S. Flag Code doesn’t require a specific folding method, there’s a traditional folding method that’s become synonymous with the American flag. Known as the tri-fold method, it lives up to its namesake by featuring a triangular shape. When displayed, the American flag has a rectangular shape. The tri-fold method will convert it into a small triangle. This is considered the traditional folding method for the American flag.
The tri-fold method begins with a single fold lengthless, followed by a second lengthwise fold in which the folded edge is turned over again. You can then turn it into a triangle by folding the striped corner of the American flag vertically to the top. Next, perform another fold on that same side. Repeat this process until you’ve folded the American flag 13 times. When finished, tuck the end of the American flag into the open fold on the back, at which point you should have a triangular shape.
There’s no specific requirement in the U.S. Flag Code for folding the American flag. Nonetheless, the traditional way in which the American flag is folded is the tri-fold method. The tri-fold method is designed to turn the American flag into a neatly compact triangular shape.