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.
www.ericavetsch.comwhere you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!
I saw the parade at Arlington National Cemetery. We didn't have a good view but it wasn't as important to me as it would have been to an American. (Don't get me wrong I respect what the site is all about) We have the tomb of the unknown soldier in Melbourne Australia. I didn't know about the folding of the flag so that is interesting.ReplyDelete
Hi, Jenny, I totally get it. Have you visited the tomb of the unknown in Melboure?Delete
Yes they don't do a parade like at Arlington. I have been there and also some of the ones around the countryDelete
Erica, thank you for sharing these interesting facts!ReplyDelete
Hey, Caryl! :)Delete
Interesting post. If I had ever known the significance of the flag folds I had forgotten. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Connie, I had never heard of the folds of the flag honoring certain aspects of our country and culture. But it's very, very cool!Delete
My visit to Arlington Cemetery will forever remain in my heart and mind. I've never known the symbolism of the flag folds and I appreciate that you've shared it with us!ReplyDelete
Connie S. Arlington certainly leaves an indelible mark on you, doesn't it? I will never forget. I was so proud and sad and patriotic all at once!Delete
I have always loved this about the flag folding. I learned about it when my step-father, a WWII veteran was buried in the national cemetery in El Paso, Texas. I cried buckets of tears as I watched them fold the flag and then hand it to my mom. Most moving moment ever in my life. I lived in D.C. when I was in 8th grade and revisited in 2000 with my sister.ReplyDelete
When we visited Arlington, I sat on a bench and looked out over all those crosses with tears in my eyes. As a writer, I imagined all kinds of stories behind those markers. The changing of the guard at the tomb was another emotional moment as was my visit to the Korean War Memorial.
Thank you for sharing this with us today.
Martha, I wept for all the stories untold that those graves represented, too.Delete
I am thankful that Washington DC is now building a World War 1 Memorial in Pershing Park. It's long overdue.
Great post about flag folding. I always become emotional when I see it done at a fallen serviceman/woman and presented to the family.ReplyDelete
Oh, Marilyn, me too! It's so moving, and makes me proud and so sad at the same time.Delete
Having been recently in a military funeral for my dad's cousin, this gives even more meaning to the flag-folding ceremony! It was already impressive! Thank you!ReplyDelete
Becky, I'm so sorry for your loss, but I love that we honor our veterans this way, with the flag they protected.Delete
I went to Washington DC with my family this summer and our first stop on our first day was Arlington. So much to see in the Capitol, but I wanted to make sure we saw that first. It provides a good dose of perspective to lead into our day. That all of the monuments and museums we would visit in the next three days would not be possible if not for the brave men and women who have their lives in the past 242 years.ReplyDelete