Discussion in 'Other US Flag Etiquette' started by EmailPoster, Jun 6, 2006.
Should 13 full stars be showing when properly folded and displayed ....
The number of stars showing doesn't really matter. It would be nice for the sake of symbolism if 13 stars always showed when you folded up a flag, but it simply doesn't work out that way. As long as you fold it in the proper way, with two horizontal folds and 11 folds to make the triangle, you've done it right, no matter how many stars are showing.
Thanks for asking!
Four stars should show, one star representing each of the four services; Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. I've been folding flags for about 24 years, I can never get less that six stars to show so maybe we can add "Reserves and Coast Guard" to the list.
Also, the three corners of the folded flag are said to represent the three branches of the government; Executive, Judicial and Legislative.
One thing to note, only the American flag is (supposed to be) folded in this manner, all other flags are simply folded into a square.
How many stars show varies, depending on the size and spacing of the stars.. some times with (badly made) flags the stars are all bunched up together and leaving a huge gap on one or more sides of the blue field
It also depends on the size of the flag too, cos you get flags with different proportions and ratios, with longer or shorter cantons, and a 3x5 ft flag will fold different to a 5x 9.5 ft one
The thickness of the material can also have an effect on the finished result.
Looking at the flag in the casE i have over by the window - the same as in the little picture shown with my name - I see 4 stars.. These are fairly large appliquÃ©d stars and well spaced. The other side of the flag shows 6 stars.
Number of flags showing when the flag is folded in a triangle.
As a member of an military Honor Guard folding flags for funerals we strive for 1-3-5 or 2-4 stars showing when finally folded or at least as close as you can. On the 1-3-5 you may not see all of the 5 stars on the bottom row. This does vary with size and material of flag. When we are asked to fold flags that are other than internment flags we do the best we can to achieve the same as an interment flag-this takes 30-45 minutes at times for us to achieve this-if at all. I am not aware of any meaning to each of the corners. It is like folks that think there is meaning to the colors of the flag-this ought to stimulate some conversation. There isn't. Only to the Great Seal of the United States which has been extrapolated to the flag. Same is true with meaning to each fold of the flag. There isn't any militarily but there is a ceremony that does put meaning to each fold. It is not clear to me who did this-I have seen one reference that says the VFW authored this. Another that says it was someone at the Air Force Academy which made everyone think it was done by the Air Force which has been refuted since 2002 or 2003. I know we don't do it in the AF anymore. We do have a reading for a flag folding ceremony but it places no meaning as to the folds-mostly a flag history.
I realize this post is quite old, but I noticed a very blatant error.
It was stated that, "As long as you fold it in the proper way, with two horizontal folds and 11 folds to make the triangle, you've done it right,...." That is in no means right! There are actually 17 folds to a flag. 2 horizontal folds, 13 triangle folds, 1 fold to make the material that is to be tucked in mirror the triangle folds and 1 fold as you tuck the flag into itself.
I have seen time and time again were a group tries to read the meanings of the 13 folds (triangle folds) and has started with the two horizontal folds. When they have finished reading the meanings there have only been 11 triangle folds made. Now they have a flag that is backwards and has twice as much material to tuck in. After looking at each other, with bewilderment, the material is generally folded in half then tucked in. The result is a blue pillow with white stars on it.
Boy! This IS an old thread!
I don't know how many Stars "should" be showing, but I imagine it all depends on how many Stars are in the Union, doesn't it? You'd end up with more Stars showing for a 48-Star Flag than for a 36-Star Flag, wouldn't you? And would it matter what pattern they were arranged in?
11 folds? 13 folds? 15 folds?
I'd think that it would all depend on the Flag's "hoist-to-fly" ratio. I mean, as examples, you'd think there would be a difference in the number of folds between a 5'x8' Flag and a 5'x9.5' Flag, OR between a 10'x15' Flag and a 10'x19' Flag, right?
Eugene, Oregon, USA
Any flag that is built to the standard put forth in Executive order 10834(http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/10834.htm ) will meet the ratio of 1:1.9 for the hoist to fly. Flags that are built to meet this standard thought the dimensions may be slightly off if measured are going to require 13 triangle folds to be folded. A burial flag (5x9.5') meets this standard as does a 10x19 flag. Flags that don't meet this standard like the 5x8'(short by about 16%) or 10x15'(short by about 21%) flags are "trash flags" in terms of folding. Even with standard flags there are some tricks to make it work and have a flag with no red and tight, pretty corners.
I understand about the number of folds in an American Flag that is made to the official 1-to-1.9 hoist-to-fly ratio.
I was thinking about the 99.9% of Americans who aren't aware of the differences between "G-Spec" and the non-standard (shorter) "civilian-use" U.S. Flags.
If you know what I mean.....
Eugene, Oregon, USA
I created an account to note that when folding the flag, it is customary for no red show at the 3 corners of the flag; this is called a bleeding flag.
US Navy Honor Guard
Welcome, Erica! Thanks for the note.
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