How to Fold a Military Flag? – 6 Easy Steps (w/Pictures)

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

how to fold a military flag

The folding of a military flag is usually a heartfelt and respectful act that requires precision and care from the flag bearers. In this article, we will provide detailed instructions on how to fold a military flag properly.

To be precise, there’s no specific army flag folding regulation or historical connection in the United States on how to fold military flags. The folding techniques are simply a habit passed on for generations. It is now a part of American culture during important ceremonies.

To understand further, below are the steps to properly fold a military funeral flag and a simple discussion about military funeral flag folding.

Fundamentals of Folding a Flag Military Style

Throughout the years, citizens and U.S. military members have valued the American flag. People respect it as such by folding it appropriately and according to traditions.

It was said that the triangular shape of the folded flag is meant to mimic the tri-cornered hats. George Washington and other Army troops used these hats during Revolutionary War.

Furthermore, you can apply these folding instructions if you want to fold a burial flag, store your flag on a military shadow box, or for any special reasons.

The following are 6 flag folding steps you can follow:

Steps to Fold a Military Flag


Step 1. First thing to do before you fold an American flag – one person must hold the flag by the blue field and the other person holds the other end.

It should be at your waist level and completely stretched out. Also, the position of the flag should be parallel to the ground.

Step 2. Second, fold the bottom half of the flag with your partner. Then, as you fold the flag in a lengthwise position, it also must cover the blue field of stars.


Step 3. Thirdly, fold the military flag again like the second step.


In this step, the blue field of stars should be seen on the side.

Step 4. Then, you and your partner should work together to make sure one of you is folding it tightly. You can start folding the flag by making the traditional triangular fold.


From the top side of the flag’s stripes corner, fold it down until you reach the blue stripes of the flag.

Fun fact: This traditional triangular folding technique of the American flag symbolizes the disappearance of daylight which turns into the darkness of the night. The blue field with stars is a representation of stars shining in the dark, night sky.

Step 5. After you reach the end of the flag, the fifth step is to form a triangular shape again. This would be your second triangular fold.


Continue folding the flag until all of the red and white stripes are completely covered by the blue fields. After that, tuck the end of the military flag inwards.

Step 6. Lastly, examine the folded American flag as desired. Check the military flag’s tips to be assured there are no red stripes, loose ends, or obvious gaps.

See to it that only the blue field can be seen on each side of the triangle. Overall, this folding technique is also used if you also want the American flag folded into a triangle at funerals.


You can check out the flag-folding diagram as follow to see the process for yourself:

Also, here’s a flag folding video if you want to put the a proper way to fold the flag in a memorial or shadow box case:

The Meaning Behind Each of 13 Folds

On any special day, such as the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and much more, you should have witnessed flag ceremonies on these days. The flag bearers or guards fold the flag thirteen times.

Do you know why it is folded thirteen times? Others argue that the thirteen flag folds refer to the first thirteen states before declaring Independence.

These thirteen states are namely: Connecticut, Delaware, South and North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

On the other hand, there are claims that the U.S. Air Force Academy is behind it. But, for some, it was the Gold Star Mothers of America.

This debate went on for years, and no specific resources available today can testify to whether these claims are all true.


To understand the 13 folds of the flag script, we’ll discuss the folds one by one:

  • The 1st fold: A symbol of life
  • The 2nd fold: Our belief in eternal life
  • The 3rd fold: Represents respect for our departed veterans and those who sacrificed their lives to defend our country in order to live in peace.
  • The 4th fold: Honors the weaker aspects of ourselves as believers of God. It is through God that we ask for divine guidance in everything we do.
  • The 5th fold: Appreciation of our country
  • The 6th fold: Represents where our hearts lie. Our hearts should pledge solely to the flag and to the country.
  • The 7th fold: Honors the U.S. military forces. They are the ones that fight for the country, and they are rightfully tributed through the seventh fold of the flag.
  • The 8th fold: Remembrance for the people who died, and someday we will see them in the light of day. Also, the eighth fold honors the mothers on Mother’s Day
  • The 9th fold: Symbolizes and honors womanhood. The characteristics of womanhood which are love, faith, and loyalty; molded great men and women of the country
  • The 10th fold: Honors to all the fathers who let their sons and daughters serve and defend our country.
  • The 11th fold: Recognizes a symbol of the lower part of the seal of King David and King Solomon. In addition to it, it praises the Gods of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  • The 12th fold: Acknowledges Christianity and those who believe in eternity with God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • The 13th fold: The flag is now neatly tucked, and the flag’s stars face upwards. The nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” is remembered during the thirteenth fold.

Frequently Asked Questions


How many times is a military flag folded?

In events where you want to fold a casket flag for a veteran’s tribute, the military flag is folded into a triangular shape thirteen times.

How many stars should show on a folded flag?

When folding the American flag funeral or other ceremonies, four stars must be facing upwards, while six stars should be showing on the opposite side.

How to display military flags on veterans’ caskets?

To fold a flag on a casket, the field of blue is inverted over the casket. The American flag’s blue field on the inside represents the life they have given to our country.


The importance of knowing how to fold a military flag should be instilled into the minds of everyone in the country. Additionally, the details and some facts about them might come in handy if you attend any flag-folding ceremonies.

For now, you can start to fold a flag by yourself just by following the necessary steps to fold a military flag in this guide!

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