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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How To Properly Fold An American Flag

I’ve known retired U. S. Army SFC Pam Minnehan for almost two years.  She’s someone I admire.  Here’s why -- she spent 20 years in the Army serving our country in the Military Police and did three tours – Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Homeland Security after 9/11.  During one of our conversations, I learned that her biggest pet peeve, out of all the things in the world, is when someone displays the American Flag incorrectly.  I worried a bit.  We have an American Flag.  Was I displaying it properly?  Was I storing it properly?  So I asked, and I learned a lot.  Here are just a few guidelines on displaying the American Flag:
  • It is typically displayed from sunrise to sunset unless it is illuminated.
  • It should be raised briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
  • It should not be flown in inclement weather.
  • Here’s a big one to Pam: When displayed against a wall or window, the blue field should be uppermost and to the left of the observer.  That is why she held the flag backwards when I took this picture:


But what I was really interested in was how to fold it and put it away.  She gave me a lesson.  Here’s an abbreviated version of what I learned.

First straighten it out to full length and fold it lengthwise one time.

Fold it again lengthwise to meet the open edge.  Make sure that the union of the stars on the blue field remains outward in full view. 


Then start making triangular folds by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to the open edge.


Continue folding toward the blue union until the end is reached with only the blue showing. 


She had all sorts of wonderful facts in her head and shared them as she folded.  Did you know that each fold has a symbol?  The colors also have meaning.  The white signifies purity and innocence.  The red signifies hardiness and valor.  The blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.  I asked Pam what the flag signifies to her.  She said, “Honor. Freedom. Sacrifice. Love of country.”  Well put.  I will remember those words when I put our freshly cleaned flag out this Friday and celebrate that freedom I enjoy thanks to folks like her. 

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

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