How To Fold A Flag On A Casket: A Step-by-Step Guide
The American flag is an iconic symbol that represents the values, ideals, and sacrifices of the United States. When an American veteran or service member passes away, it is customary to drape their casket with an American flag in honor of their service and sacrifice. As part of the military burial rites, the flag is also folded in a particular way before it is presented to the family of the deceased. Folding the flag on a casket is a solemn and respectful ceremony that requires skill and precision. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to folding a flag on a casket and answer some frequently asked questions about this tradition.
Step-by-Step Guide to Folding a Flag on a Casket
Before beginning the flag-folding ceremony, make sure that the flag is properly positioned on the casket. The blue field of the flag should be over the left shoulder of the deceased, with the white stripes along the length of the casket.
Step 1: Flatten the Flag
The first step in folding the flag on a casket is to flatten the flag. Begin by grasping the end of the flag opposite the field of stars and hold it taut. Walk around the other side of the casket and hold the flag taut at that end as well.
Step 2: Fold the Flag in Half
Bring the end of the flag with the stars down to the end of the flag opposite it, folding it in half. Be sure to keep the flag taut as you make the fold.
Step 3: Fold the Stripes Over the Blue Field
Next, fold the bottom of the flag over the blue field, creating a triangle. Be sure to keep the folds tight and neat.
Step 4: Fold the Triangle
Fold the triangle of the flag over onto itself, creating another, smaller triangle.
Step 5: Repeat
Continue folding the flag in this way, making additional triangles until you reach the end of the flag.
Step 6: Tuck in the Last Corner
When you reach the end of the flag, tuck the last corner into the folds of the flag to create a neat and compact bundle.
Step 7: Present the Flag
After completing the folding ceremony, the flag is presented to the next of kin of the deceased with a few words of condolence and gratitude for the service of their loved one.
Frequently Asked Questions about Folding a Flag on a Casket
Q: Who is entitled to have the flag on their casket when they die?
A: In general, any veteran who served honorably in the United States armed forces is entitled to have the flag on their casket when they die. Surviving spouses and other family members may also be entitled to this honor.
Q: Why is the flag folded in a triangular shape?
A: The flag is folded in a triangular shape to represent the tricorn hats worn by Revolutionary War soldiers. The shape is also symbolic of the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.
Q: How many folds are in the flag-folding ceremony?
A: The flag is traditionally folded into 13 triangular folds, each with a particular significance. The first fold represents liberty, the second fold represents loyalty, the third fold represents valor, and so on.
Q: Who performs the flag-folding ceremony?
A: The flag-folding ceremony is usually performed by a military honor guard consisting of at least two members of the armed forces.
Q: What should I do with the flag after the ceremony?
A: The flag is typically presented to the next of kin of the deceased after the ceremony. It is then kept as a cherished memento of the person’s service and sacrifice.
In conclusion, folding the American flag on a casket is a meaningful and respectful tradition that honors the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes. By following these steps and understanding the significance of each fold, you can perform this ceremony with care and precision. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this important tradition.