Today is September 11…and throughout America, there are hundreds of ceremonies and numerous “Moments of Silences” for people across our nation to reflect upon the happenings of that tragic day over a decade ago.
It is still as fresh in my memory, as if it happened yesterday, exactly what I was doing at the time the first plane hit the tower. I remember teaching my Physical Education class out on the field when the assistant Head Master of my school came out and told me what had happened. The rest of the day and the weeks to come seemed so surreal. Seeing the towers fall, the people running, the great plumes of smoke, people covered with ashes, dirt and ash, rumors of the Pentagon, the Capital Building and the White House getting hit and the chaos that ensued…it was a crazy time!
The thing that I also remember vividly, was how the country came together as one. American flags flew all across the land. it became virtually impossible to even buy a flag because they were all sold out. People flew them from their homes, businesses, cars, and even from the back of pick-up trucks! There was even a night that people were asked to light a torch or a candle and place it on their lawns or windows to show their love and support for the policemen, firefighters, and rescue people. Patriotism for our country had never been so strong…and sadly, nor has it been since then.
Here’s the thing, the thing that I am most proud of…our flag and what it is a symbol for. It represents our freedom…freedom to worship where and when we want…freedom to go anywhere as we please…freedom to vote for people that we want in office…freedom to go to and from anywhere that we wish…and so much more. It represents the hundreds of thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we have.
Today’s short video clip and a nice little reflection on our flag and some of the things that it should remind us of.
Memorial Day is a day observed by millions of people in the United States of America in remembrance of men and women who sacrificed their time, careers, and lives for their country. America is not the only country which honors their military…many countries around the world do the same in some fashion.
The history, rituals, and the customs of the United States Military has always fascinated and intrigues me. I hold in highest esteem and respect, all people who have sacrificed their time and/or their lives for their country.
A military tradition that has always been deeply moving to me, is watching the person of a fallen spouse or child, receive the folded American flag during a funeral ceremony.
I often wondered the story behind the folded flag. Why is it folded in that particular manner? What does each fold represent? What is the history behind it?
I recently read a short article on the internet site, Folds of Honor, which answered my questions. It is for this reason that I thought that this would be a great article to share with you. I hope that this story will enlighten and encourage your heart as much as it did mine!
The folded flag has long been a dual symbol of sacrifice and the cost of freedom as well as hope and admiration for those defending our country. As we transition into using the folded American flag as the Folds of Honor logo, please take a moment to read what each of these folds represents:
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; 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 wrong.”
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 all.
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 Day.
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 10th 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 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.
The 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.”
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever 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.
Have a Wonderful Memorial and that the ones who serve for us now and remember the ones who paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we can enjoy today!!
According to popular legend, the first American flag was made by Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who was acquainted with George Washington, leader of the Continental Army, and other influential Philadelphians. In May 1776, so the story goes, General Washington and two representatives from the Continental Congress visited Ross at her upholstery shop and showed her a rough design of the flag. Although Washington initially favored using a star with six points, Ross advocated for a five-pointed star, which could be cut with just one quick snip of the scissors, and the gentlemen were won over.
Unfortunately, historians have never been able to verify this charming version of events, although it is known that Ross made flags for the navy of Pennsylvania. The story of Washington’s visit to the flag maker became popular about the time of the country’s first centennial, after William Canby, a grandson of Ross, told about her role in shaping U.S. history in a speech given at the Philadelphia Historical Society in March 1870.
What is known is that the first unofficial national flag, called the Grand Union Flag or the Continental Colors, was raised at the behest of General Washington near his headquarters outside Boston, Mass., on Jan. 1, 1776. The flag had 13 alternating red and white horizontal stripes and the British Union Flag (a predecessor of the Union Jack) in the canton. Another early flag had a rattlesnake and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.”
The first official national flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The blue canton contained 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies, but the layout varied. Although nobody knows for sure who designed the flag, it may have been Continental Congress member Francis Hopkinson.
After Vermont and Kentucky were admitted to the Union in 1791 and 1792, respectively, two more stars and two more stripes were added in 1795. This 15-star, 15-stripe flag was the “star-spangled banner” that inspired lawyer Francis Scott Key to write the poem that later became the U.S. national anthem.
In 1818, after five more states had gained admittance, Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states. The last new star, bringing the total to 50, was added on July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became a state.