There are no Flag Code provisions which require any
method, however, the following is traditional:
A) Straighten out the flag to its full length and fold
B) Fold it lengthwise a second time to meet the open edge,
making sure that the union of stars on the blue field remains
outward in full view (a large flag may have to be folded
lengthwise a third time.)
C) A triangular fold is then started by bringing the striped
corner of the folded edge to the open edge.
D) The outer point is then turned inward parallel with the open
edge to form a second triangle.
E) The diagonal or triangular folding is continued toward the
blue union until the end is reached, with only the blue showing
and the form being that of a cocked (three corner) hat.
Meaning of a Flag
The flag folding ceremony represents the same religious
principles on which our great country was originally founded.
The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue
containing the stars representing states our veterans served in
uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right
and is inverted only when draped as a pall on the casket of a
veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform.
In the Armed Forces of the United States, at the
ceremony of retreat, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle
fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to
our nation’s honored dead. The next morning it is brought out
and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our
belief in the resurrection of the body.
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran
departing our ranks and who gave a portion of life for the
defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; for as American
citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of
peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a 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
The sixth fold is 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
The seventh fold is 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.
The eighth fold is 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
The ninth fold is 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.
The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given
his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he
or she was first born.
The eleventh 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
The twelfth 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.”
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, 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 Captain John Paul Jones
who 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.