CAPTAIN TERRY GRAU
Did you know that at military funerals, the 21 gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776.
Have you ever noticed how the honor guard pays meticuluous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times?
The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life
The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, "Our Country", in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.
The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for defense of our country since they were first born.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nations motto, "In God We Trust."
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, Ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
The music we now use for Taps dates back to General Daniel Butterfield of the Army of the Potomac who did not like the traditional French “lights out”. He, together with the brigade bugler, composed the music we now know as Taps.
Taps was first used in connection with the military funerals during the Civil War. During the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, the A Battery of the Third Artillery was in an advanced position when it had to bury one of its soldiers. Due to the proximity of the enemy it was unsafe to fire the customary three volleys over the grave. The Captain of the Battery decided the sounding of Taps would be an appropriate substitute. This custom was adopted through the Army of the Potomac and became integral to the military funeral ritual. In 1918, the U.S. Army began the practice of placing a flag over the coffin and, following the service, presenting the flag to the next of kin.