Did you know?

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21 gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times?

You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

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 Decaur, "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 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, have been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the 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, ever 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.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning.

In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.

The Flag

A protest raged on a courthouse lawn, round a makeshift stage they charged on. Fifteen hundred or more they say, had come to burn the Flag that day.

A boy held up the folded Flag, cursed it and called it a dirty rag. A man pushed through the angry crowd, with an old gun shouldered proud.

His uniform jacket was old and tight, he had polished each button, shiny and bright. He crossed the stage with military grace, until he and the boy stood face to face.

Then the old man broke the silence. "Freedom of speech, is worth dying for, Good men are gone, they live no more. All so you can stand on this courthouse lawn, and ramble on from dusk to dawn.

But before the Flag gets burned today, this old veteran is going to have his say. My father died on a foreign shore, in a war they said would end all wars.

Tommy and I weren't even full grown, before we fought in a war of our own. Tommy died on Iwo Jima's beach, in the shadow of a hill he couldn't reach.

Where five good men raised this Flag so high, that the whole world could see it fly. I got this bum leg that I still drag, fighting for this same old Flag.

There's but one shot in this old gun, so now it's time to decide which one. Which one of you will follow our lead, to stand and die for what you believe?"

The boy who had called it a dirty rag, handed the veteran the folded Flag. The crowd got quiet as they walked away, to talk about what they heard that day.

So the battle for the Flag this day was won, by a loyal veteran with a single gun. Who for one last time, had to show to some, that these colors will never, never run.

It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the veteran, who salutes the Flag, who serves under the Flag, whose coffin is draped by the Flag.

Thanks to RON HOVIS, QM3, "N" Division for providing both pieces of "Flag" information.
USS Des Moines CA-134, 1954 - 1957