Why we fold the flag 13 times

In honor of all our veterans on this Memorial Day

Why we fold the flag 13 times

Have you ever noticed how the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times? Here’s what each of those 13 folds mean:

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The 8th 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

Veterans can fly for free through VAC

Day by Day
Veterans can fly for free through VAC


Nov 5, 2018

This Week Community News

Veterans Airlift Command provides free air transportation to post-9/11 combat wounded and their families for medical and compassionate purposes through a network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

Tim Fyda, 61, of Columbus is president and CEO of Fyda Freightliner.

He attended the Air Force Academy and received his pilot wings in the U.S. Air Force. He served for eight years as a pilot.

“In 2007, I saw a Newsweek magazine cover with a wounded female Army veteran,” Fyda said. “She happened to be an amputee. I said to my wife, ‘I wish we could do something to help our wounded warriors as they return from Afghanistan and Iraq.’

“The next day I opened Transport Topics — a truck transportation industry publication — and saw an article about Veterans Airlift Command. I went to the VAC website and saw that two guys I had served with in the Air Force were advisory board members. I called one of them and have been hooked ever since. I flew my first mission soon after and became a board member, as well.”

Fyda said he wants wounded warriors to know they have the love and support of their country. He wants to ease the burden on veterans and their families as they navigate the complex world of rehabilitation.

“As much as I know our mission helps our veterans, I assure you it helps me more than them,” he said. “I have met the most inspiring young Americans you can imagine. I ask many of them to fly up front with me if they are able to get to the seat.

“As one young Marine sat next to me on a long flight, he said he would do it all again, knowing the consequences, just in order to support his brothers in arms. That is dedication.

“Another young Army lieutenant platoon leader was rehabbing in St. Paul after almost losing his life in combat. His first order of business as soon as he could travel was to fly to Massachusetts to meet and comfort the families of two of his fallen soldiers.

“I learned more about leadership that day from that young lieutenant than in the 12 years I had served.”

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew H., 30, along with his wife, Heather, and 10-month-old son, Noah, once were Fyda’s passengers. He flew them from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to his home.

A Green Beret, Matthew — whose last name was withheld by Army officials due to the sensitivity of his job — has served in multiple deployments to North Africa and Afghanistan.

“We train, advise and assist foreign militaries in unconventional warfare,” Matthew said.

He said his Special Forces team was tasked with clearing a city of enemy combatants in Afghanistan. On the morning of Jan. 24 his team came under enemy fire.

“During the exchange, I was struck with AK rounds to my right elbow, right ankle and left thigh. I was also struck by an IED shortly thereafter,” he said.

“I have extensive soft-tissue damage to my left thigh and lost my right leg below the knee. I have spent eight months in rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical (Center) to learn how to walk again.”

Matthew said he has used the VAC service several times.

“Tim has flown me just one time. He brought me home to see my family,” he said. “I have used the service two other times for similar reasons.”

Due to the swelling in his right leg, he is unable to bend his leg to or near a 90-degree angle.

“I could have never fit my leg and new prosthetic in the small sections of commercial airplanes … traveling through an airport with a wheelchair, 10-month-old and luggage would be impossible.

“Without the VAC, I would have not been able to return home.”

Matthew will return to the Special Forces community once he is healed completely.

“We always need more volunteer pilots at VAC. They can contact us through our website,” Fyda said. “We have a very lean organization and staff.”

For more information on Veterans Airlift Command, visit its website, veteransairlift.org; email info@veteransairlift.org; or call 952-582-2911.