On the meaning of the folds of a US flag given to families of veterans

What a wonderful lesson this was for me. I do not recall ever being taught this in school: “The Meaning of the Flag-Draped Coffin.”

All Americans should be given this lesson. Those who think that America is an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought. Our founding fathers used God’s word and teachings to establish our great nation, and I think it’s high time Americans get re-educated about this nation’s history.

Please pass it along and be proud of the country we live in, and even more proud of those who serve to protect our “God-given” rights and freedoms. I hope you take the time to read this, to understand what the flag-draped coffin really means.

Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon it and is surrendered to so many widows and widowers: Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed that the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies. But we learn something new every day! The first fold of the flag is a symbol of life. The second fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The thrid fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to the 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 people’s hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to its armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

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 a tribute to womanhood and mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion, that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity, and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the father, the son and holy spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding them of their nation’s 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 them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you’ll see flags folded, and now you will know why.

Please share this with the children you love and all others who love what is referred to as the symbol of liberty and freedom.

Maybe the Supreme Court should read this explanation before they render their decision on the Pledge of Allegiance. In the meantime, may God protect us always.

One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.


Howard Tolbe is a resident of ‘Ele‘ele.

  1. Steven McMacken May 11, 2021 3:15 am Reply

    Very nice, Howard, but the year 1776 has nothing to do with the 21-gun salute. The honor predates the American Revolution by several decades. Warships took to firing honorary seven-gun salutes, with that number probably chosen for its astrological and biblical significance. Cannons fired from land had greater access to powder and were able to fire three guns (a number chosen for its mystical significance) for every shot fired afloat, making the honorary salute by shore batteries 21 guns — hence, the 21-gun salute.

    1. Howard Tolbe May 11, 2021 11:36 am Reply

      Mr. McMacken, “thank you1 I stand to be to e corrected.”

    2. Boots on the ground May 11, 2021 4:30 pm Reply

      Steven M.
      the flag
      Spoiler Alert

      I was just ready to cry. Filled with pride, I am one of the forgotten.

  2. James Kuroiwa, Jr. May 11, 2021 8:03 am Reply

    Howard Tolbe, mahalo for sharing the intent of folding the United States Flag at the lost of a veteran and most important the meaning of each fold. From time to time we must all be reminded of the Flag folding with its true meaning. Some day provide us the background of playing Taps. Go For Broke and First Strike.

  3. Kaaona Kipuka May 11, 2021 3:07 pm Reply

    Looks like someone goggled the “21 Gun Salute”…. Maybe Mr. Tolbe should’ve done that as well. So as to not give out misinformation. The flags are also given to parents and other family members too, not just to “widows & widowers”…

  4. james May 12, 2021 7:34 am Reply

    If you want to celebrate the fact that you still have your rights, you are barking up the wrong tree. God hasn’t preserved your rights that are constantly under attack by the government and big corporations, trial lawyers have. They fight the battle every day in courts across our great Nation. Do you enjoy your rights? Thank a trial lawyer.

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