So very moving. The inscription on the end of the soldier's tomb brought tears to my eyes.
"Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known But To God."
While everywhere in Washington, D.C. are symbols of America, America's great patriots, presidents, and people, it was at Arlington that the history and cost of becoming America and remaining America hit home. And how true that statement is. Though we do not know who the young World War I soldier is, God knows. He knows the identity of the soldiers who lie in the graves representing World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, who are also interred at this site.
Patriotism wells up as we watch the solemn, stately, and reverent ceremony of the changing of the guard, and as we witness the honor bestowed on four unknowns by their fellow soldiers. It's hard to hold back the tears of grief and pride.
|Our view of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony.|
The crowd stands out of respect.
While discussing the trip with my children, my son asked something about the American Flag that I had never wondered about. "Why do we fold the flag into a triangle shape?"
Excellent question, so off to Google we go!
Here's what I found at the American Legion site: (You can read more by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.)
- The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
- The second fold signifies our belief in eternal life.
- The third fold is made in honor and tribute of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace.
- The fourth fold exemplifies our weaker nature as citizens trusting in God; it is to Him we turn for His divine guidance.
- The fifth fold is an acknowledgment 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 sixth 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 seventh 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 enemies.
- The eighth 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, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
- The ninth fold is an honor to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, 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 father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first-born.
- The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
- The last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
I had no idea of the symbolism in the flag folding ceremony. And I am amazed and pleased with how much of the symbolism speaks to the Christian heritage of our nation.
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