The Catholic Defender: June 14th is Flag Day
Psalms 20:5, "May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!" Psalms 60.4, "Thou hast set up a banner for those who fear thee, to rally to it from the bow."
The United States celebration of Flag Day (June 14) originally began in 1777, 240 years ago. June 14 is the birthday of 'Old Glory' which has had 26 design changes since the beginning. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson made June 14 official as Flag Day through a proclamation. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10798 on January 3rd, 1959 adding the 50th star representing the State of Hawaii for the United States Flag on August 21, 1959.
The American Flag is seen having thirteen horizontal red stripes alternating with white stripes. There is a blue rectangle bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows if five stars.
Tradition tells the story of the first American flag made by Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who was acquainted with George Washington, leader of the Continental Army, and other influential Americans.
Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reported to Congress the seal of Old Glory:
"The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun."
The United States Army was founded on June 14, 1775 which bears much in what the United States flag would represent the blood, sweat, and treasure Americans fought serving our Country against all enemies.
At the ceremony of retreat, a daily observance at bases during which all personnel pay respect to the flag, “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 the resurrection of the body.”
The traditional method of folding the flag is as follows:
(A) Straighten out the flag to full length and fold lengthwise once.
(B) Fold it lengthwise a second time to meet the open edge, making sure that the union of stars on the blue field remains outward in full view. (A large flag may have to be folded lengthwise a third time.)
(C) A triangular fold is then started by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to the open edge.
(D) The outer point is then turned inward, parallel with the open edge, to form a second triangle.
(E) The diagonal or triangular folding is continued toward the blue union until the end is reached, with only the blue showing and the form being that of a cocked (three-corner) hat.
Meaning of Flag-Folding Program
The flag-folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great country was originally founded.
The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a pall on the casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform.
In the U.S. Armed Forces, 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 the resurrection of the body.
Symbols for the Folds of the Flag
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
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.”
Prayer for America:
God our Father, Giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to Your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your people. Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation´s leaders.
Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.
Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing Your will. Through the
intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the "culture of death."
Lead us into a new millennium of life. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen