Why American Flags Are Folded Into Triangles for Veteran Funerals


If you have every been to a service honoring a military veteran, chances are you’ve seen a flag draped over a casket that was later folded into a triangle.

There is significance to the triangle along with every single fold it takes to make it.

Meaning Of 13 Folds Of Honor

The folding ceremony at a funeral is similar to what is done daily by U.S. Armed Forces when they lower the American flag at night during the “ceremony of retreat.” Miilitary,com describes the practice as one that leads to the flag being watched overnight “as a tribute to our nation’s honored dead.”

Ceremonial Flag offering

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The flag is specifically folded 13 times to create the triangle. Each fold has a special meaning according to the website.

Fold Meanings
  1. Symbol of life
  2. Belief in eternal life
  3. Remembrance of departing veteran
  4. Represents trust in God
  5. Tribute to country
  6. Allegiance to flag
  7. Tribute to Armed Forces
  8. Honor of mother
  9. Tribute to womanhood
  10. Tribute to father
  11. “Lower portion of the deal of King David and King Solomon”
  12. Represents emblem of eternity
  13. Reminder of “In God We Trust” motto

Both Military.com and The American Legion say that while the tradition is closely followed, its origin is unclear. Today, the recitation of words explaining the ceremony is option for most services.

One thing that is common, however, is the flag always being folded into a triangle that is similar to the cocked hat worn by George Washington and others during the Revolutionary War.

You Probably Don’t Know Where Funeral Homes Get The Flags

Funeral homes are responsible for acquiring the flags for services honoring veterans. The process is more involved than buying a flag at the store or waiting for someone to show up from one of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Melissa Jo is quickly approaching 1 million followers on her @funeralbabe TikTok account. The mortician shares stories and advice culled from her years in the funeral business.

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She says the flag is a “special flag” that her funeral home needs to apply for through the VA

“They are absolutely huge,” Melissa says in a recent video explaining the flag process.

She lets the viewer follow along as she makes the request, which includes filling out a form and turning into the local post office where they give her the flag. Not all post offices, however, carry the flags.

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For the past 10 years, the American Association of State Troopers has held a contest to determine which state has the best looking patrol cruiser. Nearly every state police agency submits their best photo of their sharpest patrol vehicle a chance to win the coveted cover photo on the association’s annual calendar. From cop cars rushing through blizzards to vehicles on the Grand Ole Opry stage, here are this year’s nominees.

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