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VFW Raises Flags and Awareness

August 28, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

Last Thursday morning, at the Emmetsburg Catholic School, members of Emmetsburg's Veterans of Foreign Wars raised the American flag and the Iowa state flag in an annual ceremony that signals the start of the new school year.

In the quad area between the school and the church, VFW Commander Terry Chamberlain explained to the students and teachers the significance of the procedure. Chamberlain said a flag raised upside down is a distress signal. He added that no part of a flag should come in contact with the ground.

When the flags were raised, Chamberlain ordered the VFW members to present arms. The members saluted. The students and teachers placed their hands over their hearts.

Article Photos

SALUTE - As VFW Commander Terry Chamberlain raises the American and Iowa State flags, VFW members and students and teachers from Emmetsburg Catholic School salute. The annual ceremony signifies the start of the new school year. Per protocol, veterans salute and civilians place their hands over their hearts. --Darren Fraser photo

After the flag raising ceremony, Chamberlain and VFW members Chuck Roberts and Wayne Turk demonstrated to students how to properly fold the American flag. As Roberts and Turk went through the folding procedure, explained flag etiquette and the meaning of each of the 13 folds the procedure entails.

Most people are aware the flag should never touch the ground. The flag should never be dipped in acknowledgement to a person or thing.

In terms of a pecking order, the American flag takes the top place on the flag pole. The exception is a church service for the Navy conducted by a Naval chaplain, in which case, a church pennant may be flown above the flag.

The flag is not drapery. Nor should it be embroidered or printed on another surface, such as a pillow. Bandanas are right out.

The flag is to remain unadorned. It is not to be used as a receptacle or for holding or carrying anything.

The flag can only be a patch on official uniforms, such as military, fire or police.

Disposing of a flag is also codified. Chamberlain pointed out to the students that the VFW maintains a flag disposal site in the city. When the legion disposes of a flag, it follows an exact regimen. An American flag is never to be thrown away like trash.

According to Chamberlain, a discarded flag is folded in a precise configuration, after which it is burned. The ashes are buried.

After explaining flag etiquette, Chamberlain, Roberts and Turk began the folding procedure.

The first fold symbolizes life; the second signifies humanity's belief in eternal life. Fold three is a tribute to the veterans who gave their lives in defense of the country and to attain peace.

Fold four reaffirms man's subservience to and trust in God.

The fifth and sixth folds affirm our belief in the United States and the pledge of allegiance.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces and their service to this country.

Fold eight is a tribute "to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day" Fold eight also honors mothers, for whom flags fly on Mother's Day. Continuing this theme, fold nine honors women and their unwavering faith in the men and women who made this great country.

The tenth fold is a tribute to fathers; they, too, have given sons and daughters for the defense of the county.

The eleventh and twelfth folds address the Old Testament legacy, including King David and King Solomon, and the Trinity, respectively.

Fold thirteen completes the operation. When properly executed, the folding procedure results in the flag's stars are at the top a reminder of the country's motto, "In God We Trust."

 
 
 

 

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