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Flag Folding Etiquette

Flag Folding Etiquette

Matt Rogers joins with the Blue Eagles Honor Guard for a Memorial Day tribute

BLUE EAGLES HONOR GUARD PARTICIPATING 05/25/15:
MSgt Darryl Willingham
TSgt Jed Kutz
TSgt Damon Mazyck
TSgt Ruben Garcia
SrA Astin Coleman
SrA James Lamb
SrA Paige McCann


FLAG FOLDING ETIQUETTE:
"Traditional flag etiquette prescribes that before an American flag is stored or presented, its handlers should twice fold it in half lengthwise; then (from the end opposite the blue field) make a triangular fold, continuing to fold it in triangles until the other end is reached.  This makes a triangular "pillow" of the flag with only the blue starred field showing on the outside, and it takes thirteen folds to produce: two lengthwise folds and eleven triangular ones.


The flag is folded this way because it provides a dignified ceremonial touch that distinguishes folding a flag from folding an ordinary object such as a bed sheet, and because it results a visually pleasing, easy-to-handle shape.  This thirteen-fold procedure was a common practice long before the creation of a ceremonial assignation of "meaning" to each of the steps.


An elaborate flag folding ceremony incorporating these meanings has since been devised for special occasions such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  These associations are "real" in the sense that they mean something to the people who participate in the ceremony.


READ BY MSGT. DARRYL WILLINGHAM DURING THE 13 FLAG FOLDS
For more than 200 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our nation’s unity, as well as a source of pride and inspiration for millions of citizens. Born on June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress determined that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternating between seven red and six white; and that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.


Between 1777 and 1960, the shape and design of the flag evolved into the flag presented before you today. The 13 horizontal stripes represent the original 13 colonies, while the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white signifies purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.


Traditionally, a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom, and inspired Americans, both at home and abroad.


In 1814, Francis Scott Key was so moved at seeing the Stars and Stripes waving after the British shelling of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry that he wrote the words to The Star Spangled Banner. In 1892 the flag inspired Francis Bellamy to write the “Pledge of Allegiance,” our most famous flag salute and patriotic oath. In July 1969 the American flag was “flown” in space when Neil Armstrong planted it on the surface of the moon. Today, our flag flies on constellations of Air Force satellites that circle our globe, and on the fin flash of our aircraft in harm’s way in every corner of the world. Indeed, it flies in the heart of every Airman who serves our great Nation. The sun never sets on our US Air Force, nor on the flag we so proudly cherish.


Since 1776 no generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom… Today’s Airmen remain committed to preserving the freedom that others won for us, for generations to come. By displaying the flag and giving it a distinctive fold we show respect to the flag, and express our gratitude to those individuals who fought, and continue to fight for freedom, at home and abroad.


Since the dawn of the 20th century, Airmen have proudly flown the flag in every major conflict on lands and skies around the world. It is their responsibility…our responsibility…to continue to protect and preserve the rights, privileges, and freedoms that we, as Americans, enjoy today. The United States flag represents who we are. It stands for the freedom we all share and the pride and patriotism we feel for our country. We cherish its legacy, as a beacon of hope to one and all. Long may it wave.


The next time you see a Flag ceremony honoring someone that has served our country, either in the Armed Forces or in our civilian services such as the Police Force or Fire Department, keep in mind all the important reasons behind each and every movement. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us by honoring our Flag and our Country.


THE VOLLEY SALUTE
The volley salute is a ceremonial act performed at military funerals as part of the drill and ceremony of the Honor Guard. It consists of a rifle party firing blank cartridges into the air three times. The custom originates from the European dynastic wars, where the fighting ceased so the dead and wounded could be removed. Then, three shots were fired into the air to signal that the battle could resume.


A rifle party usually has an odd number of members, from 3 to 7. The firearm used is typically a rifle. The party usually stands so that the muzzles are pointed over the casket. However if mourners are present near the grave, the party stands some distance away (often recommended at least 50 feet) so as to not deafen the attendees and minimize the disturbance. If the service is being performed indoors, the firing party stands outside the building, often near the front entrance. On the command of the NCO-in-charge, the party raises their weapons and fires three times in unison.


Modern United States military parties use M1, M14 or M16 rifles. The use of blank cartridges means the weapon's semi-automatic gas action will not function, requiring manual cycling of the next round between shots.


GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE 
U.S. AIR FORCE, MARCH FIELD, BLUE EAGLES HONOR GUARD AT:
 Facebook.com/Blue-Eagles-Honor-Guard


HISTORY OF THE FLAG: http://www.usflag.org/history.html


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