All around the country, Memorial Day activities have begun, and no more so than here in District 4. Congressional Candidate Tobi Beck participated with other veterans in a flag folding ceremony sponsored by Indiana Veterans Employee Group (INVERG) at Covance. The team used the “Funerary Fold” used to fold the flags that shroud the coffins of soldiers, in commemoration of the sacrifice those soldiers made. The ceremony was a somber occasion with the representation of each fold of the flag read as the veterans completed a time honored task of folding the stripes into the night of the stars.
Four of the five services were represented:
Tobi Beck – Army, Lisa Windham – Navy, Jeff Pickett – Marine Corps, Joanne Smith – Air Force, Jeff Ray – Army, JJ Spegele – Marine Corps
For 240 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our nation’s unity, as well as a source of pride and inspiration for millions of citizens.
On June 14, 1777, The Second Continental Congress ordered that the flag of the newly formed United States of America be thirteen stripes, alternating between seven red and six white; and that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field representing a new constellation.
The 13 horizontal stripes represent the original 13 colonies, while the stars today represent the 50 States of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white signifies purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Traditionally, as a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom and inspired Americans, both at home and abroad. In 1814, Francis Scott Key was so moved at seeing the Stars and Stripes waving after the British shelling of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry that we wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem.
Since 1776, no generation of Americans have been spared the responsibility of defending freedom. The flag represents who we are – it stands for the freedom we all share and the pride and patriotism we feel for this great Nation. We cherish its legacy as a beacon of hope to one and all.
By displaying the flag and giving it a distinctive fold we show respect to the flag and express our gratitude to those who fought, and continue to fight for freedom, at home and abroad.
The custom of folding the United States Flag into a shape of a triangle is representative of the tri-cornered hat worn by the Soldiers who fought the War of the Revolution and won our National independence. As James Moss penned in 1930 that when folding the flag, “the red and white stripes are finally wrapped into the blue as the light of day vanishes into the dark of night.”
The first fold stands for Liberty. In America, we are free to own property, elect our government, attend the church of our choice, openly disagree and to pursue our individual American dreams.
The second fold represents unity. Abraham Lincoln said, “That a house divided against itself cannot stand.” National unity in the face of natural disasters and external threats such as those posed on 7 Dec 1941, or 9/11 has preserved our constitutional republic.
The third fold stands for justice. In America, we believe that every person is equal before the law and is deserving of just and fair treatment.
The fourth fold symbolizes perseverance. To persevere means to endure, to remain steadfast despite adversity. Those whom we honor this Memorial Day understood the true meaning of perseverance.
The fifth fold represents hardiness. Throughout our history our enemies have underestimated American hardiness and resolve. In countless campaigns on battlefields near and far we have proved them wrong.
The sixth fold stands for valor. Valor means courage and an act of defending what is right even in the face of adversity. The red color of this flag represent valor, symbolic of the blood shed by all the American heroes who sacrificed for our freedom.
The seventh fold symbolizes purity. Our Founding Fathers illuminated freedom’s path for us when they created the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and our Bill of Rights – documents enabling the United States to become the greatest of Nations and a beacon to so many.
The eighth fold represents innocence. George Washington once said, “The love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct.” Those white stripes on our flag symbolize that innocence and purity.
The ninth fold represents sacrifice. Today, we honor those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us remember and honor them by recalling that their sacrifice has earned those freedoms we enjoy here today.
The tenth fold stands for honor. We give thanks for all who have acted with honor in the founding and growth of America. We pray that those who represent us in government will conduct themselves in a manner that will continue to bring honor to our Nation and to our Flag.
The eleventh fold symbolizes independence. American’s have always fiercely defended our independence and as Patrick Henry once said, “Give me liberty, or give me death.’ America stands as an icon of freedom and independence to the world. May it always remain so.
The twelfth fold represents truth. We believe in a set of truths first articulated in our Declaration of Independence – that all are created equal and we have unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. May we always live up to the spirit of those truths.
The thirteenth fold represents humility. Those white stars represent our original thirteen colonies and that humblest of beginnings as a Nation destined to greatness. As we end this folding of our National ensign, let us remember all those who humbly, but valiantly, made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this flag.
Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day holiday.