The Bugler

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The Thirteen Folds

One of the most reverent ceremonies is the folding of the American flag. Many organizations have words that represent the thirteen folds that are made when the flag is folded. Whether it is American Legion, one of the Armed Services, a first responder or a scouting organization, part of the history of that group is to put words to the flag folding ceremony.

Thank you to Mr. Ron Tranmer who recently shared his interpretation. Mr. Tranmer is a poet and please visit his website to see more of his inspirational poetry.

Two naval officers participate in a traditional "passing of the flag" retirement ceremony at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. Photo by Gary Nichols. Public domain.

The Thirteen Folds
By Ron Tranmer

The flag that drapes a casket is handled with respect,
as it's folded for a loved one left behind.
In case you don't recall, there are thirteen folds in all
and the meaning of each one is here defined.

The First represents the symbol of all life.
The Second stands for life eternally.
The Third fold is in honor of all veterans who have died
in the fight for the right to keep us free.

Four reminds us of the weaker nature of mankind,
and our trust in God's pure guidance from above.
Five serves as a tribute to the country we call home.
America ... The land we dearly love.

Six. A symbol of our hearts, for it is there we pledge,
allegiance to our flag as we stand tall.
A nation under God, and through Him indivisible,
with liberty and justice for us all.

The Seventh for armed forces. Each and every branch,
who protect our country from the enemy.
On ocean, ground, or in the sky ... victory will be our cry
and the stars and stripes will wave from sea to sea.

Fold Eight is in honor of the mothers of our land.
Those living, as well as those who've died.
They are the reason why, our nation’s flag will fly
every Mother's day, to show our love and pride.

Fold Nine is much like eight, as it honors womanhood
and the faith in our land they resonate.
With devotion, they have molded the character of men
and women who have made our country great.

Ten is for all fathers, who have lost sons and daughters
and yet, with pride, hold their heads up high.
Freedom’s price to them is clearer. Our flag even dearer,
and it's presence makes the strongest of them cry.

The Eleventh fold is for our right to worship as we please,
and praise God for the freedom of this land.
The Twelfth is for the hope that we will worthy be,
to continue to be guided by His hand.

Thirteen. The final fold before inspection of the flag,
to insure that it's been folded properly.
Then, with a salute, a veteran's paid tribute
as the flag's presented to the family.

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