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In the Armed Forces of the United States, at the Ceremony of Retreat, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold, and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation's honored dead. The next morning it is brought out, and at the Ceremony of Reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our belief in new life.

The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton field of blue containing the stars, representing the states who have provided the men and women who have served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a pall on a casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform.

1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of our belief in God.

2. The second fold is a symbol of our devotion to the United States of America.

3. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the Veterans who have departed our ranks.

4. The fourth fold represents our reliance on God for guidance and strength.

5. The fifth fold is a tribute to freedom and all that it means to us.

6. The sixth fold represents our heart. For it is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is the Armed Forces who protect our country and our flag against all her enemies.

8. The eighth fold is a tribute to honor our Mother's faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that have shaped the character of the men and women who have made this country great.

9. The ninth fold is a tribute to Father's, who give their sons and daughters for the defense of our country.

10. The tenth fold is a tribute to American families everywhere. Our strength is built upon their strength.

11. The eleventh fold is a symbol of our belief in justice and equality for all.

12. The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity, and glorifies our faith in God.

13. The thirteenth fold is a symbol of our thirteen original colonies.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national 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 American Soldiers who first served under General George Washington to establish and preserve the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.



Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and were tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary War, and another had two sons captured. Nine fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war.

They signed and pledged their lives, fortunes and honor. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; they were men of means and well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in Congress without pay and kept his family in hiding. His possessions were taken and his reward was poverty.

Vandals and soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttlege and Middleton.

At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that British General Cornwallis had taken over his home as headquarters. Nelson urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. His wife was jailed by the British where she died a few months later.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children had to flee for their lives. His fields and gristmill were destroyed. For more than a year he lived in caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such are the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These patriots were men of means and education who had security, but they valued liberty more.

Standing tall and unwavering, they pledged "For the support of the Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

They gave us, you and me, a free and independent America.


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