OHIO VALLEY — Many throughout the United States have heard the National Anthem, stated the Pledge of Allegiance, and seen the flag folded, but many do not know that there is a special meaning behind each fold of the flag.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4464 of Gallipolis takes great pride is serving veterans who have passed away, performing military rights at the grave and bestowing a folded flag on the casket and to the family.
At each of these ceremonies, a special prayer is read aloud by the VFW members.
“The banner of love and devotion, now being folded, is a living memorial of the courageous thoughts of our comrade; the one you came here to honor this day. The blue field represents the sky that overlooks our land and denotes the watchfulness of God the eternal. The red stripes tell us of the blood, sweat and tears that has been offered and conquered by our comrade, devotion to the responsible freedom of his country. The white stripes boldly proclaim the peace that he helped to bring to future generations. This is his flag. This is our spiritual heritage. Receive it with the tears of our minds and the faith of our hearts. Amen.”
According to Bill Mangus, post commander of VFW Post #4464, this prayer shows that the flag is more than a symbol of the USA, it represents the sacrifice of those who have agreed to give up their lives for the sake of freedom.
In the folding of the American flag, there are 13 folds. The first two are half folds long-wise, with the stars on the outside. The remaining folds are triangulated from the striped end, leaving only the field of stars showing once completed. Each fold has a special meaning, according to Mangus.
The first fold is a symbol of life. The second, is of the belief in eternal life. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who gave a portion of their lives in the name of peace. The fourth fold represents the weaker nature; that is the human race and a trusting in God. The fifth fold is a tribute to our country. The sixth fold is for where people’s hearts lie, for it is with their hearts that people pledge allegiance.
The seventh fold is a tribute to the Armed Forces, without which the USA could not protect itself. The eighth fold is a tribute to “the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death” that we might see the light of day. The ninth fold is in honor of womanhood and mothers, for their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion to the character of men and women who make this country great. The tenth fold is to fatherhood, for giving his sons and daughters for the defense of the country. The eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David, and glorifies the God of the Hebrews. The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies the Christian trinity. The final fold leaves the stars exposed, reminding of the nations motto “in God we Trust.”
“It is a respect for every veteran that served their country and gave their lives,” said Mangus. “Out of respect for every veteran that sacrificed their life for this country from the Revolutionary War to modern times.”
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.