How to Fold the American Flag: A Beginner's Guide

How to Fold the American Flag: A Beginner's Guide

All Americans should own the flag that represents their country. And the flag that represents so much to us deserves respect. But did you know there's a specific way to fold the American flag?

It's true; there's a bit of nuance to it, but anyone can do it. Here's how and why you should fold the American flag.

Why Fold the American Flag?

It is illegal to treat the flag disrespectfully. Did you know that it is considered unceremonious to leave an American flag raised overnight? There are certain situations that circumvent this.

By-and-large, the American flag isn't meant to be left outside perpetually. That's how it gets damaged. And a damaged flag requires means of proper disposal.

Don't mistreat your flag and start storing it properly.

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Fold the American Flag

When you go to store your flag, make sure you abide by a certain set of rules for folding it. Here's the best way to respectfully fold the American flag.

Step 1: Lay the Flag Open

Place the flag on a flat surface, such as a table or counter-top. Do not place the flag on the ground, as this is considered disrespectful.

Step 2: Fold the Flag Long-Ways

Ensure that the stars are in the upper-left corner before you fold. Then, fold the flag in half, like a hot-dog bun. Fold top to bottom. Before you continue, make sure the stars are on the left end and the stripes are on the right.

Step 3: Flip the Flag

Straight-forward, flip the flag so that only the stripes should be showing. The opening of the flag should now be on top.

Step 4: Fold Long-Ways Again

From the bottom, lift and fold upwards. The flag should now be in fourths, and the stars should be visible on the left-most side again.

Step 5: Fold Into Triangles

Confirm the stripes are on the right most-side of the flag.

Then, with the top-right corner, fold downwards, forming a small triangle. Bring the triangle towards the stars, folding taut.

Now bring the bottom left corner of your triangle to the top right. You should have folded the triangles twice.

A flag folding tip: keep these triangles as taut as possible. If they are not taut, they will begin to bunch and will make the end-product considerably less elegant.

Repeat this process, back and forth until there is roughly a hand's length of flag left on the top.

Step 6: Tuck in the Flag

Tuck the remaining material into the top slit of the triangle. Keep it taut! Don't bunch the material up, this will cause it to wrinkle, especially if your flag isn't made with a wrinkle-resistant material, such as polyester.

Once you've tucked in the material properly, your flag should have the union stars facing out to you in one big triangle.

Step 7: Store or Display Your Flag While Folded

Once the American flag is in a triangle, you can choose whether to display it as such or put it into safe storage.

Congrats! You've successfully folded the American flag.

Don't Forget!

There are some obvious requirements for the flag: thirteen stripes, fifty-stars, and it's got to be red-white-and-blue. But there are a few additional requirements you should know of when handling your flag.

Here are a few additional requirements you must abide by when tending to the American flag.

Don't Let the Flag Touch the Ground

The flag should never touch anything beneath it. Most of the time, we consider this to be the ground. However, if it comes into contact with anything beneath it: the floor, water, even merchandise-- this is considered disrespectful.

Don't Ever Fly the Flag with the Union Down

The union-- the stars in the corner of the flag-- should never be flown facing downwards. The only exception to this is if you or your property is in distress, and should act as a signal of such extreme danger.

Never Carry or Raise the Flag to Be Flat or Horizontal

Naturally, the American flag represents freedom and unity between the states. As a result, it should never be flown rigid, rather, it should be carried that it may wave aloft and free of restraint.

Don't Use the Flag as a Receptacle

That means no carrying, holding, or delivering anything with the flag. The American flag shouldn't be used in any means except for its sole purpose of being flown as a symbol of U.S. independence.

Dispose of American Flags in a Dignified Way

If your flag is damaged or no longer fit for display, make sure to dispose of it properly. Traditionally, the proper way to dispose of an American flag is by burning.

Don't just toss it onto the coals, though! Make sure you place the flag, folded to the best of your abilities, atop a flame and let it burn throughout. This is a fitting way for the flag to be destroyed.

Need an American Flag for You or a Loved One?

Now that you know how to fold the American flag, you should consider sharing and teaching others. A flag like ours is a great gift for anyone you care about, and we have a wide selection of materials and sizes to choose from.

We live in a land that represents freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and of personal expression. The American flag waves as a symbol of that. It demands respect.

Check our shop for the best place to purchase American flags and to keep supporting American businesses!

Dec 21st 2020

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