The burial flag tradition is a solemn and reverent way for the United States government to honor fallen patriots who have served their country. The flag, made of cotton and larger than standard nylon flags, presents some challenges for outdoor display, but its size and weight are a testament to the sacrifices made by those who have served.

When presented to the nearest relation or friend of the veteran or service member, the flag is folded 13 times, each crease with its own significance, and resembles the tri-cornered hats worn by Revolutionary War soldiers.

Like the folds of the flag, the burial flag tradition is steeped in history and meaning. It is a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who have served our country and a symbol of the respect and honor they deserve.

In this article, we will explore the history of the burial flag tradition, the significance of each fold, and the importance of displaying and caring for the flag to properly honor those who have served our country.

Presentation and Folding

During the presentation ceremony of the burial flag, military protocol dictates that a uniformed representative folds the flag 13 times, each crease symbolizing a different value of the United States.

This intricate process results in a tri-cornered hat shape, which has significant meaning and honors the fallen patriot.

The first fold represents life, the second fold symbolizes belief in eternal life, and the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing from the ranks.

The fourth fold represents the weaker nature of human beings, while the fifth fold is a tribute to the country, which looks to the people for defense in times of peace and war.

The sixth fold salutes the fallen soldier閳ユ獨 heart, for it is with the heart that they have loved and served their country.

The seventh fold is a tribute to the armed forces, for it is through them that the country protects its citizens.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that they might see the light of day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, and the tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he too gave his sons and daughters to the defense of the country.

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

The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

Finally, the thirteenth fold, when the flag is completely folded, represents the soldier閳ユ獨 commitment to serve, fight, and protect the United States.

History and Significance

The historical origins and the cultural significance of the burial flag are integral components of its symbolism.

The tradition of draping flags over the dead dates back centuries, with the ancient Greeks and Romans using banners to cover the bodies of fallen soldiers during funerals.

In the United States, the use of flags in military funerals can be traced back to the Civil War, with Union soldiers often being buried with the American flag.

However, the modern tradition of presenting burial flags to the families of fallen service members began during World War I.

The symbolism of the burial flag lies in its representation of the service and sacrifice of the fallen.

The flag serves as a reminder of the bravery and valor exhibited by the deceased, as well as a symbol of the gratitude and respect owed to them by their country.

The 13 folds in the flag during the presentation and folding ceremony each hold their own significance, with the final fold creating a triangular shape that resembles the tri-cornered hats worn by revolutionary war soldiers.

The burial flag tradition is a powerful symbol of honor and respect for the fallen, and its significance is deeply ingrained in American culture.

Display and Care

Properly displaying and caring for the burial flag is essential to preserving its condition and ensuring its longevity. While the flag is made of cotton and not designed for extended outdoor display, there are still ways to protect it from the elements.

One option is to purchase a display case specifically designed for burial flags, which will protect it from dust, moisture, and fading. Another option is to store it indoors, ideally in a dry and cool location away from direct sunlight.

In addition to protecting the flag from outdoor elements and storing it properly, it’s important to handle it with care during display and storage. When displaying the flag, it’s recommended to keep it away from sources of heat or humidity, such as fireplaces or bathrooms.

When storing the flag, it should be folded properly and placed in a protective case or storage box to prevent any damage. By taking these precautions and following proper flag etiquette, the burial flag can continue to serve as a symbol of respect and honor for the fallen service member.

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