Meaning of a flag draped coffin

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – As an American flag draped over the coffin of the late Senator Bob Dole, the American Legion discussed the significance of the deed and the meaning of its folds when handed over to loved ones .

The American Legion says flags have been draped over the coffins of military veterans since the late 1700s and that the custom is steeped in tradition and requires some protocol.

The Legion said the flags draped over the coffins honor the memory of members of the U.S. military. He said most veterans and active duty members qualify for flag-draped caskets at their funerals.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has said veterans with dishonorable discharges are not eligible for an official funeral flag.

The Legion said funeral flags should never touch the ground and, when draped over a casket, should never be lowered into a grave. He said the flag would be removed from the coffin and folded into a triangle with only the blue part visible.

When folded, the Maine Military Funeral Honor Program said the flag was handed over to the deceased’s specified next of kin, friend or associate of the deceased. He said qualified veterans only receive one funeral flag, so only one person will receive the folded flag.

To understand what a flag-covered coffin means, the Legion said residents should know what each fold means. While many believe it is folded 13 times for the number of settlements, he said this was incorrect. The meanings of the folds are as follows:

  • 1 – The symbol of life
  • 2 – A symbol of belief in eternal life
  • 3 – Done in honor of veterans coming out of the ranks who gave part of their lives in defense of the nation
  • 4 – Represents the weaker nature, because many look to God for guidance
  • 5 – A tribute to the country
  • 6 – For where the heart of the people rests
  • 7 – A tribute to the Armed Forces
  • 8 – A tribute to the deceased
  • 9 – A tribute to femininity and mothers
  • 10 – A tribute to the father
  • 11 – Represents the lower part of the seal of King David and King Solomon
  • 12 – An emblem of eternity
  • 13 – When the flag is completely folded, the stars are visible at the top, recalling the nation’s motto

After the flag was fully folded and retracted, the Legion said it resembled a cocked hat in remembrance of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones.

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