The MAtH (man about the house) and I have been crazy busy the past couple of weeks and weren't able to give Dianne Isbell and her Monday Etiquette column in the Belleville News-Democrat any time. Today, with a lot of time on our hands because of a strong thunderstorm, we had a look.
Me: Dianne is just a bit ahead of Flag Day this morning.
MAtH: Always relevant, that's our Dianne.
Me: This is pretty interesting, though. She only answers one question.
Me: But it's on a topic I doubt many people know much about.
MAtH: Try me.
Me: Here's the question: "My husband and I have attend a couple of military funerals at national cemeteries. The flag-folding portion was especially moving, but sometimes the meaning of each fold of the flag was recited and other times it wasn't. What do the folds mean and can they be said at a military funeral today?"
MAtH: I'm not sure I know those.
Me: I don't either. Most funerals for veterans don't include any words, just servicemen silently folding the flag before giving it to the family.
MAtH: What are the 13 recitations?
Me: First fold: Symbol of life
2: Symbol of our belief in eternal life
3. In honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.
4: Represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it to him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for his divine guidance.
5: Tribute to our 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."
6: Where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.
7: Tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within our without the boundaries of our republic.
8: 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 mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
9: Tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
10: Tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
11. In the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, it 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.
12. In the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
13: When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God We Trust." 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 Capt. John Paul Jones. They were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the armed forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
MAtH: Enough said.
Here's my father's flag