Legion Honor Guard Demonstrates Flag Etiquette!

The American Legion Post #36 Color Guard performed a demonstration of flag etiquette for residents of the Heritage Estates Cottages at the clubhouse on Friday morning.

During the ceremony, the color guard, consisting of Legion Auxiliary President Cecil Doshier, West Area Vice Commander for the Sons of the American Legion Eldon Kramer along with Sons of The Legion Steve Tomlison and Dennis Wademan, posted the colors before showing how to properly fold the American flag. Kenny Smith, also a Son of the American Legion, was on hand to take photos.

If you’ve ever attended a military funeral, you might have noticed the honor guard will carefully take the flag from atop the casket and fold it in a very specific way before presenting it to the deceased veteran’s loved ones.

The flag is folded 13 times, with each fold representing something different, as Doshier explained.

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life. The second signifies the belief in eternal life.  The third fold is in honor of all veterans who served the United States.  The fourth reminds us of our weaknesses and our failures, so we can learn from them and improve ourselves.  The fifth fold is a tribute to our nation.  The sixth symbolizes our hearts and reminds us that love for anything – including our nation – has to come from the heart.  The seventh fold symbolizes the armed forces, who protect the country and the flag.  The eighth is in remembrance of all who have died while serving our country, and all of the mothers who lost children serving our country.  The ninth fold is in honor of women, who contribute just as much to the nation as men have.  The tenth fold is in honor of our forefathers.  The eleventh fold represents Judaism.  The twelfth fold represents Christianity.

The thirteenth and final fold represents the national motto: “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a tri-corner hat, a reminder that all veterans today have followed in their footsteps of the soldiers who fought under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who fought under Capt. John Paul Jones.

The flag was then handed to Legionnaire Bob Achziger, who then presented it to Heritage Estates Cottage resident Helen Conklin. After the ceremony, Achziger introduced the color guard to the audience.

“It’s something that we have to keep doing to keep everyone respecting our flag,” Kramer said. I think that if we get to the youth, we’ll have a better society and more respect for our flag.”

Kramer said the American Legion Color Guard recently performed the flag folding ceremony for fifth and sixth graders in Gering schools before breaking them out into groups to practice folding 4-foot by 5-foot American flags. With the help of county keno donations, they were able to hand out 186 American flags at a cost of $1.68 per flag.  He said the color guard will also do the 13 folds demonstration at Gering High School on County Government Day.

“The four pillars of the American Legion are Americanism, children and youth, national security, and Veterans Affairs and rehabilitation,” Kramer said. “It’s very important that people know what the American Legion is for.”

Kramer said the Legion headquarters has been providing assistance to the families of Coast Guardsmen who are going without pay during the government shutdown. “The American Legion stepped in to help those guys get by until they get paid,” he said.

Aside from color guards and 13 fold ceremonies, programs the American Legion, Legion Auxiliary, Legion Riders and Sons of the Legion support are a number of events, including lining the streets with flags for Veteran Honor Flights, as well as sponsoring boys and girls state to teach high school students about government. Other programs they sponsor include The Oratorical Contest, Junior Shooting and Legion Baseball.

Kim Johns, who does Public Relations for Heritage Estates, thanked Achziger and the color guard for putting on the presentation.

“It’s a privilege to have you here,” Johns said. “With all that is going on in our country, we appreciate your service and your family’s service to our country.”


Article Courtesy of Spike Jordan, Scottsbluff Star Herald Newspaper


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