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How to Fold the American Flag

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Flag Folding Header

animated flag folding

When Old Glory is not flying, it is proper etiquette to fold it in the following way. Please keep in mind that a flag should not touch the ground while being folded, nor should it be stored long-term in a folded condition. This ceremony is most easily performed with two people using a table if necessary.

5 easy steps

flag folding 1


Begin folding the flag lengthwise
by bringing the lower edge flush
horizontally with the upper edge.
For larger flags, this may require
two people.

Step 1 of folding a u.s. flag

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flag folding 2


Fold the flag lengthwise again by
bringing the central fold flush
horizontally with the upper edge.

Step 2 of folding a u.s. flag

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flag folding 3


The person at the fly end should
then form a triangle by making
the lower corner of the flag touch
the upper edge.

Step 3 of folding a u.s. flag

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flag folding 4


The outer point should then be
folded towards the hoist end.

Step 4 of folding a u.s. flag

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flag folding 5


Fold the upper corner to the lower
edge. Continue this process until
the hoist end is reached. Tuck the
remaining folded part to
secure the bundle.

Step 5 of folding a u.s. flag



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What is the meaning behind each fold?


Each fold's meaning and symbolism:

According to the American Legion, the flag folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great nation was originally founded. While the recitation of words is not required at a military burial, families may request it accompanies the ceremony.


No 1

The 1st fold of our
flag is a symbol of life.


No 2

The 2nd fold is a symbol of
our belief in eternal life.


No 3

The 3rd fold is made in honor
and remembrance of the veterans
departing our ranks who gave
a portion of their lives for
the defense of our country
to attain peace throughout
the world.


No 4

The 4th 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 time
of war for His divine guidance.


No 5

The 5th 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.


No 6

The 6th 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.


No 7

The 7th 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.


No 8

The 8th fold is a tribute to the
one who entered the valley of
the shadow of death, that
we might see the light of day.


No 9

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood,
and Mothers. For it has been through
their faith, their love, loyalty and
devotion that the character of
the men and women who have
made this country great has
been molded.


No 10

The 10th fold is a tribute to the
father, for he, too, has given
his sons and daughters for defense
of our country since they were first born.


No 11

The 11th fold represents the lower
portion of the seal of King David
and King Solomon and glorifies
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


No 12

The 12th fold represents an emblem
of eternity and glorifies, in the
Christians’ eyes, God the Father,
the Son, and Holy Spirit.


No 13

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely
folded, the stars are uppermost reminding
us of our nation’s motto,
“In God We Trust.”



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