The Meaning Of The Flag Draped Coffin

February 4, 2007

All Americans should be given this lesson. To understand what the flag draped coffin really means…… Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon it and is surrendered to so many widows and widowers. Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776? Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold
of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold
is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold
is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold
represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold
is 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.”

The 6th fold
is for where people’s hearts lie. It is with their heart that They pledge allegiance to the flag of the United! States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold
is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th 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.!

The 9th fold
is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold
is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold
represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold
represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold
or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their nations 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 them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you’ll see flags folded and now you will know why.


27 Responses to “The Meaning Of The Flag Draped Coffin”

  1. C J Johnson on June 6th, 2007 7:42 am

    We need more of these lessons in our schools.

  2. Peggy Boston on October 19th, 2007 7:04 pm

    What is the source of this information? Who first authored this “meaning…” and is it officially sanctioned by the military or government?

    P Boston

  3. Terri on October 19th, 2007 7:19 pm
  4. Hawk on November 13th, 2007 8:11 pm

    This along with the Unknown Tomb are lessons that should be tought in school more.

  5. Rhonda on July 15th, 2008 4:56 pm

    These things ARE taught in school. Just like math and grammar but just like everything else….you can’t force the kids to learn. The information is there….all they have to do is take it. Too easy.

  6. Terri on July 15th, 2008 5:33 pm

    I agree Rhonda, those things are taught in school. However this country has become such a “I want it now” society, and “it’s all about me” society, that I think our children have often not been taught by their parents how to listen and learn.

  7. Kiani on August 13th, 2008 7:26 am

    I would like to have permission to post this on my website. It is profound. More people should read it. People forget why this nation exists… this is an excellent reminder.

  8. Mary on August 17th, 2008 7:03 pm

    It wasn’t a matter of not listening, I was never taught this in school, nor were my children. We were a military family living in a town that was there because of the base. Lucky the children who attend the school where this information is taught.

  9. C. Wilson on August 18th, 2008 12:29 am

    It wasn’t taught this in school when I went, and none of my children were ever taught this in school. American Pride does not show in school any more, at least not in any of the California, Nevada or Arizona schools that I attended. My 17 year old son has told me that many kids in school don’t even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance let alone salute the flag. Many make rude remarks regarding the flag and our military men and women serving our country. The teachers do not correct them, they do not say anything. These kids don’t respect themselves, each other, the teachers, parents or any authority. It is a shame what our society is becoming. These kids are the future of this country… it is sad, very sad.

  10. Mary on August 18th, 2008 9:55 pm

    I think you are wrong about our young people today!! Yes, some come from families that do not show respect for our country, our troops, our elderly, etc.
    But, many come from good homes with great parents. I think that along with our Great Military, which is the back bone of our country, our families must have God within their family life and teachings. With a religious background, we will learn what the meaning of our country is all about. ‘GOD AND COUNTRY’!!! This should be now and always, the motto of the United States.

  11. Mike on August 26th, 2008 7:49 pm

    Easily debunked, here is the Snopes entry.

    Another deliberate attempt to inject religion into practices that are not inherently religious.

  12. Gregory Romeu on September 27th, 2008 12:32 am

    C. Wilson is correct. This information is NOT taught in the elementary, middle or highschools across America and can not be found in the registry of cirriculum to be taught to our children.

    Secondly MOST “families” are now single parent households, mostly headed by a mother on child-support which is one of the first major traumas to the break-down of our society. MOST of these single headed households were created by the lack of commitment to the marriage, usually by the woman. Then mostly because they wanted to “go find themselves” or fight to become the head of a family that GOD NEVER GABE THEM PERMISSION TO DO!

    Divorce and custody battles waged in the courts across America based on false alegations, usually by these “mothers”, and the child-support mongers and all other 3rd party predators feed on these dumb masses that seek to destroy their marriage that THEY GAVE AN OATH TO MAINTAIN UNTIL DEATH is what is sending the signals of “I don’t give a crap” to our children.

    The very mommys of America are the actual breeders of this give-a-shit society.

    They, along with the feminists, lawyers, judges, DHHS social workers and all these other drama-queens in the social engineering fields are what tear apart the fabric of our nation, our families and most importantly are responsible for the destruction of the Father-Child relationships that are the foundation to a healthy family that is based on moral standards, discipline and judeo-christian values… NOT what Oprah, Montel, Maury or Tyra Banks says!

    Pull your heads out of your butts and face the truths!

    These coffins are flag-draped because our commrades or enclosed and making their final journey home and THAT is the way our country shows respect to our passing brothers and sisters.that we give a damn.

    If there are kids sitting on their butts in school or at a public function during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner or the Pledge of Allegiance, then it is up to the adult supervision in that area that is responsible to immediately correct that situation WITHOUT QUESTION!

    Those of you that dead-beat on this issue are what has become known as “Domestic Terrorists”. I pray that a military veteran isn’t standing close by when you try to excercise your liberal view-points or “logic”, as I am sure that they will make the effort to properly correct you, in public, and at all costs and more than likely enjoy EVERY minute of it!

    Semper Fidelis!

  13. Terri on September 27th, 2008 4:49 am

    Sorry Greg but that’s a bunch of bull shit. Single parent families are in no way mostly caused by women. That’s sexist and a bunch of bull. Working where I do and dealing with Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on a daily basis, I can say firsthand that much of this is caused by men who aren’t taught how to respect others, men and women alike and feell they have the right to “beat down” anyone who doesn’t succumb to their wishes. I see how violence in homes across America does nothing but tear families apart, because some jackass hasn’t learned that it’s not acceptable to beat someone into submission. Children wittnessing this type of behavior does nothing more than teach them that it’s okay to beat someone down, if they don’t do what they want them to. The fact that you would stoop so low as to bring God into this and say that “he hasn’t given women permission” to be heads of households, or independant is downright idiotic.

    I blame the MEDIA for the “give a shit” society, in our country and backwards thinking people like yourself. I do agree with one point you made. That it’s the adults who should shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that the children in our society be taught what it means to properly respect others, our country and the spoken and visual symbols of our country.

    You sir appear to be very angry at women for some reason or another, but you’re really reaching to blame society’s woes on women. Sounds like an issue that you need to work through. I myself was a single parent at one point (not because I wanted to “find myself” but instead because my ex decided he wanted to have a girl friend during our marriage. I don’t believe that God gave him permission to do that), yet I still took the time to teach my children morales, values and sense of responsibility towards their family, friends, acquaintances, city, state, and country. That’s what it’s all about. Parents taking the time to teach their children the right way and parents actually getting their fat asses off the couch, spending quality time with their children and ensuring that they know right from wrong. Instead, today’s society is bombarded by images splashed across the television glamorizing the “me first” mentality, that so many of our leaders and media celebritites espouse. So perhaps it’s you sir who needs to pull his head out of his ass.

  14. Carl Adkins on November 19th, 2008 10:01 pm

    I agree with Mike. Seems like someone on the Religious Right had a lot of time on his/her hands, so he/she concocted this bull, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION!!! Greg, you have a lot of gall calling anyone who does not subscribe to this crap as a “Domestic Terrorist”. What is your term for someone who forces crap like this down your throat??? I hope you paid attention to Terri’s response—-her message is much more valid than the garbage you spew.

  15. Nick on December 9th, 2008 9:20 pm

    why doesn’t anyone address the fact that Mike posted in August a link debunking this ridiculousness?!?!?!

    As grand as religion is, it should be kept entirely separate from state matters.

  16. Brian on February 17th, 2009 4:44 pm

    Nick. Do not look for truth about the United States and our heritage at has a history of not providing accurate information, to many to go into here. It has turned into a partisan site that expresses it ‘views’, not always the truth.

    And by the way, there is no separation of church and state. Our constitution states that government will not impose a religion onto the people, but it does not state that gov’t is to be devoid of religion. Many of the founding documents refer to God or to a higher power. It is only since the late 1940’s when a supreme court judge, I can not remember which, penned a letter stating that he believed in a separation of church and state. In God We Trust is everywhere in the USA and the Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments on the walls as we are very much a religious country, no matter how much the secular left tries to take God out of our Country and lives. It really is a shame how the left disrespects our country, founding fathers, and our heritage.

  17. Pruitt on February 23rd, 2009 8:50 pm

    Let me preface this by saying I completely respect where Terri is coming from with this post. Anybody on this site most likely feels strongly about the lessons being taught in our schools, particularly with regard to the traditions of our military. However, I think it is important to clarify the data: Actually, the 21 ‘gun’ salute originated well before the historic significance of 1776 would even be recognized. Interestingly enough, it is traced to centuries before that…
    As far as the flag folding goes, the US flag code does not specifically instruct for folding methods or techniques. The ‘meaning’ has been quite a source of debate and in 07 came under scrutiny particularly for its 11th fold reference. Its like the chicken and the egg argument: Is the flag folded 13 times for those 13 reasons or have those 13 reasons been adapted because of the 13 folds…???
    Whatever the answer, I spent a while tonite researching this and could not find a concrete answer — these are the discussions our children should be having.

    We should engage our youth to discover the history of our country, not just read it to them in text and make them take a test on it (not that anyone here was implying that by the way). For those interested in other great historic lessons from the military, show your kids the history of the challenge coin. There aren’t any concrete facts about its history but it is exciting nonetheless!

  18. michele on March 5th, 2009 9:09 am

    @Gregory Romeu - Hold on there a second. I’m a single mom with two deployments to Iraq under my belt. My child was taught to honor and respect the US Flag, our troops, and the USA. She has a dream and a goal to join the Air Force, and be the first to graduate college. I don’t receive child support and I dont qualify for welfare. I make enough to get by, but not enough to really make it. I think I’ve done a fine job with my kid. She’s in the JROTC, and is already trying to make sure she becomes the Battalion Commander her senior year by making good grades, and having good citizenship. She started an adopt a troop program at her school before she even joined JROTC. When I left on her BIRTHDAY for my 2nd tour, she said I had two jobs, first and foremost was to ensure all Soldiers have their communications set up. Second was that I come home to her alive. She said she didn’t care if I was injured, she would take care of me. She was 12 yrs old. So it’s not a single parent issue. My kid is proof.

  19. Sharon on March 5th, 2009 12:25 pm
  20. Nancy Edgington on March 5th, 2009 12:48 pm

    I always thought that the so called twenty-one salute was actually a three gun volley. To my understanding this was from the Civil War Era to retreive their sides wounded and dead in a organized manner.

  21. Mike on March 5th, 2009 1:27 pm

    I find the number asking why this is not taught in school to be interesting. While the nation’s schools may be one place that this information could be disiminated; I would suggest that fathers passing this on to sons, and mothers passing this on to daughters, is a more appropriate means to convey the message. As parents, we too often pass on the task of informing / teaching our children to others. We need to realize the impact that we, as parents, can have on the youth of America. A reddened, tear filled eye, can leave a lasting impression.

  22. Jeremy on March 5th, 2009 2:32 pm

    A few quick comments,..because these are short they may seem closed minded,..I assure you that is not the case, closed minded and strong opinion are two different things.

    1. We are a nation founded “Under God” and that’s the way it should stay,..not God as you interpret it,..but God as our forefathers meant it,…the one they served not our modern day representations of.

    2. If you don’t like it - leave it! - Don’t be pissed off when you don’t get your way with a vote,..and contrary to popular (ignorant) belief - WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRATIC NATION! - It’s that way for a reason,…..We are a REPUBLIC! IT’S DIFFERENT,…look it up.

    3. The single root cause for all of the above listed problems is not divorce, domestic violence, liberalism, ignorance, or poverty,….All of these are however symptoms of the real problem,….A Nation founded, in and on the principals of Christianity was truly blessed by God,….the more our leaders turn away from these teachings, principals, and more importantly their faith,..the further we will fall.

    4. And last, again, this is my opinion - The way our country as a whole treated the soldiers that came home from Vietnam is one of the greatest blemishes on our countries history,..the way the liberal jerks and media cover the war on terror like a bunch of sissies bitch-slapped by a blow-hard bully makes me sick! - Our soldiers are HEROS and deserve that respect,…if you see one shake their hand,..tip your cap,…but above all thank them for their service.

    I’ve recently seen a flag folded,…and heard a 21 gun salute - I don’t care if the meaning was adapted to the actions or if the actions were perfored based on the meaning - either way it is a symbol of reverance to one who served above all others — I know the chill of a soldier blowing “Taps”,…watching “Old Glory” get her 13 folds,…and 21 rifles ringing out on a cold afternoon as I laid my grandfather to rest - Sgt. J.H. Williams - U.S. Army - WWII.

    God Bless the U.S.A.

  23. Kate on March 5th, 2009 5:47 pm

    Originally Posted By RhondaThese things ARE taught in school. Just like math and grammar but just like everything else….you can’t force the kids to learn. The information is there….all they have to do is take it. Too easy.

    Rhonda, you are incorrect….this was never brought up in school - in discussing this with older AND younger colleagues, no one has ever heard of this before.

    Thank you for sharing.

  24. patrese roy on April 30th, 2009 1:15 pm

    my dad served in the navy im his only daughter out of 4son my mom and dad divorce. and he had a new wife when we loss him i was the one that they gave his flag to and i always wanted to know why my brothers did not get it i di d was i the one to get it

  25. Lesson From A Flag Draped Coffin « Quipster on May 6th, 2009 6:47 am

    [...] found at a Soldier’s Mind and the Cornwall Historical Society.  PDF handout at US Australia Club.  It is particularly [...]

  26. becky on May 12th, 2009 8:53 pm

    thank you for this site. now i understand why my father wanted the 21 gun salute at his funeral. god rest his sole, he did believe.

  27. Proud Marine Mom on June 6th, 2009 4:09 pm

    I am a proud Marine Mom. My husband and I taught our children to respect and honor those who serve our country and to love God and the teachings of the Lord. Both of our Fathers were in the Armed Forces of the United States. It is those parents who are too strung out, or did not get this kind of teaching at their own home who have let those children down. It is our responsibility to educate those who would be againstour Sons and Daughters, who wear the cloth of this great nation, and let these ignorant few know that our Armed Forces are trained to defend and protect, but it is more times than not, these are the very people who rebuild and help other countries have a better life. The US Armed Forces are not just raging war. My Son came home from his first deployment to Iraq in 2005. He said, “Mom I have seen things that every American should see, but I have also seen things that no American should see!” He was a Veteran at the age of only 20 years. He is now on his 3rd deployment.

    Our News Media does not report the good deeds that our American Students are doing. News Media focuses on the kids who are killed in gang wars, right here on our very own public streets. I dare anyone of you to give me the following numbers. I will bet that more Americans are killed in a year on our own streets from some sort of violence, than are coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan in a flag drapped coffin. Let the News Media try to gather that information!

Got something to say?