Impressions of Old Glory
by Jack E. Dawson
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.Psalm 33:12
“Old Glory” appears to float in the darkness, suspended only by the cross on which it rests. Its battle colors, tatters and bullet holes speak of the great battle raging for the soul of our nation. Through the symbolism that has been used at a flag folding ceremony, “Impressions of Old Glory” represents the principles of faith on which our country was founded. Beginning at the lower portion of the painting and progressing upward, the 25 hidden symbols in the painting depict the meaning of each fold of the flag during a flag folding ceremony.
- The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life. (1)Baby (2)Flower blooming
- The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life. (3)Gates of Heaven with angel
- The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world. (4)Wheelchair (5)Mourner at grave
- 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. (6)Adam’s fall (hand/apple) (7)10 Commandments (upside down and broken)
- 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.” (8)Woman pledging allegiance (9)Man pledging allegiance
- 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. (10)Heart
- 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 her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic. Emblems of: (11)Army (12)Navy (13)Air Force (14)Marine (15)Coast Guard
- The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day. (16)Rose and “MOM” (17)Tomb
- 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. (18)Woman
- The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
- The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, 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. (20)Star of David (21)Tabernacle
- 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. (22)Manger of Jesus Christ (23)Cross of Jesus Christ (24)Empty tomb of Jesus Christ
- When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, (25)“In God we Trust.”
The American Legion Meaning of Flag-Folding Program
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 U.S. Armed Forces, 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.
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.
The source and the date of origin of this Flag Folding Procedure is unknown, however some sources attribute it to the Gold Star Mothers of America while others to an Air Force chaplain stationed at the United States Air Force Academy. Others consider it to be an urban legend. It is provided as a patriotic service to all.