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The U.S. flag never becomes obsolete as long as the flag is officially approved and
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Flag folding
According to Finley Hodges, commander of Watauga American Legion Post 130, the ceremonial method of folding the flag holds significant meaning and represents the same religious principles upon which the country was founded. 

There is a required procedure to folding the flag, but just as important are the symbols for the folds, Hodges said.

Symbols for the folds 

- First fold: a symbol of life.

- Second fold: a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

- Third fold: made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

- Fourth fold: represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to him we turn to in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for his divine guidance.

- Fifth fold: 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."

- Sixth fold: for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

- Seventh fold: a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

- Eighth fold: a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.

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

- 10th fold: a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of the country since he or she was first born.

- 11th fold: in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, 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.

- 12th fold: in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God We Trust," Hodges said.

After the flag is properly and completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, Hodges said, reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces -- preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
Originally published: 2014-06-09 12:55:17
Last modified: 2014-06-09 13:03:47

Flag Day: Behind the Stars and Stripes

by Sherrie Norris

June 14 is Flag Day and a perfect time to reflect upon a symbol of our American heritage, said Mary Moretz, chairwoman of the Daniel Boone Chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution.

"Our chapter will be joining with others across the nation -- and with many Americans -- as we celebrate our national flag and, most importantly, the freedoms it represents," Moretz said. "We would like for everyone to fly the flag on Flag Day, as well as other appropriate days. We want to help educate and remind our community about our flag, such as the expected conduct and respect for the flag and more.

"The DAR will host a brief program about Flag Day at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 9, at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone, presented by Megan Phillips.The group is also hosting an informative display at the library during June.

Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes, as the flag was first known, was designed on June 14, 1777, with 13 stripes representing the 13 United States at the time, in alternating colors of red and white, and 13 white stars in a blue field representing a new constellation. Flag Day is recognized as a result of the efforts of Wisconsin teacher, Bernard John CiGrand, who, in 1885 in his one-room school, placed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in an inkwell and had his students write essays on what the flag meant to them. From that day on, CiGrand dedicated himself to inspire not only his students, but also all Americans, in the real meaning and splendor of the flag.

Flag Day was officially proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 to be celebrated on the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress on Aug. 3, 1949, establishing June 14 as Flag Day in the U.S.The DAR promotes and encourages a strong patriotic feeling and respect for the American flag, Moretz said. In keeping with the "flag code" adopted by the U.S. Congress, the principal objectives are to: keep the flag flying, protect the flag under all conditions, ensure its correct use and display, and to educate children and adults about the authorized rules of the flag code, Moretz said.The DAR publishes a leaflet about the U.S. Flag Code that is distributed to institutions, businesses and individuals. With other materials, it is helpful to students in studying the history and importance of the U.S. flag, Moretz said.

DAR members across the country present American flags to new citizens at naturalization ceremonies, schools, youth organizations, historical sites, museums, veterans' homes and hospitals. Braille flags are also given to schools and institutions for the blind.

"A member of our chapter recently gave enough flags to Parkway School so that each classroom would have a flag," Moretz said. "We plan on continuing to give flags until we are sure that each classroom in Watauga County has a flag."The DAR is a nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer women's service organization; its members are dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism in communities across the nation.Educators, parents and students are encouraged to contact their local DAR chapters for more information or visit

Flag facts

The following might dispel common myths regarding the American flag:

- On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, the American Legion and representatives of 68 other patriotic, fraternal, civic and military organizations met in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of drafting a code of flag etiquette. The 77th Congress adopted this codification of rules as public law on June 22, 1942 (Title 4, United States Code Chapter 1).

- A flag that has been used to cover a casket can be used for any proper display purpose, to include displaying it from a staff or flagpole.

- According to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, the U.S. flag never becomes obsolete. Any officially approved American flag, irrespective of the number or arrangement of the stars and/or stripes, may continue to be used and displayed until no longer serviceable.

- The flag code is simply a guideline for proper flag etiquette. The law does not provide penalties for violation of any of its provisions.

- As long as the flag remains suitable for display, the flag may continue to be displayed as a symbol of the country.

- There are no provisions of the flag code which prohibit the washing or dry-cleaning of the flag. The decision to wash or dry-clean depends upon the type of material.

- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. 

- Placing the flag at half-staff means that the nation or the state mourns the death of a highly regarded national or state figure, hence only the president of the U.S. or the governor of the state may order the flag to be half-staffed. Those individuals and agencies that usurp authority and display the flag at half-staff on inappropriate occasions are quickly eroding the honor and reverence accorded this solemn act.

- The flag, when it is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. Since 1937, the American Legion has promoted the use of a public flag disposal ceremony. This ceremony is a fitting tribute and an overt expression of patriotism, which enhances the public's understanding of honor and respect due the American flag.

- Fringing of the flag is neither approved of nor prohibited by the flag code. The American Legion considers that fringe is used as an honorable enrichment to the Flag. 
Source: The American Legion, National Flag Day Foundation