How to Fold an American Flag

Proper display and etiquette for how to fold an American flag.

Folding an American Flag is a tradition, in which we remember our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.” A folded American Flag also resembles a colonial soldiers’ cocked hat that was worn during the fight for Independence, as well as the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones of the Armed Forces of the United States.

But, what is the proper way to fold and display an American Flag? It is important to note that special caution should be taken so the flag never touches the ground. To begin folding the flag, hold the flag waist-high with another person so that it is parallel to the ground. Fold the flag in half width-wise, twice – making sure the stars show at all times. Starting from the edge of the flag where the stripes come together, make a triangular fold by taking one edge of the flag and bringing it towards the other.

Repeat this triangular fold until a small strip of blue is left; tuck the remaining strip of blue into the triangular shape of the flag. When you are finished folding the flag, only a blue field of white stars should show.

How to Fold an American Flag

During a memorial service for former military members, a flag is placed on the casket of the deceased. Prior to burial, the flag is removed from the casket, folded by current military members, and then presented to the family of the deceased.

While there are no official meanings behind the folds of the flags, Most are religious in nature, but all reflect the ideals of the United States. The first fold represents life, the second fold is symbol of eternal life, and the third fold signifies honor and remembrance of veterans. The fourth fold represents weakness, the fifth fold signifies a tribute to the United States, and the sixth fold represents where our hearts lie. The seventh fold tributes our Armed Forces, the eighth fold signifies the one who walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and the ninth fold pays tribute to womanhood. The tenth fold pays tribute to father, the eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, and the twelfth fold signifies the emblem of eternity. When the flag is folded completely, the union is displayed and represents our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”

Flag on casket

The formal flag folding procedure is exclusive to the United States, and other countries do not partake in the tradition.

If you have a folded flag you would like to keep in pristine condition, you might want to purchase one of our Flag Display Cases. They keep your flag tightly contained so no water, bugs, or moisture will ever get at the flag and compromise its condition . We offer two wood versions, an oak or cherry finish.


Share This:

Collins Flags

We offer a variety of U.S. flags and poles to suit most every need. We proudly buy our U.S. flags only from American manufacturers who meet or exceed our demand for high-quality construction. Click for to see our large selection of U.S. Flags.

3 Replies to “How to Fold an American Flag

  1. Final product is completely wrong in the photo. You will not have a 5/3/1 display. The stars are offset in each row and do not line up in each row as your photo shows. If you are flag professionals, you should know this. Your photo is not representative of the actual American flag.

    1. Hello, You are correct that ” Your photo is not representative of the actual American flag.” What you are viewing is not a photo, it is simply an image depicting the folding of the flag. If you would like to see the folding of the actual flag, we found several on Google when we entered “folding the US flag” this is one of the links
      We hope that this helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *