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Flag Folding

The Martha Stewart Show, May 2008

The triangular shape of a properly folded American flag symbolically represents the three-cornered hat worn by Colonial soldiers in the Revolutionary War. The American flag is most commonly flown on holidays such as Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day, but it can be flown from sunrise to sunset on any day of the year. When not on display, it should be respectfully folded into a triangular shape.

Flag Folding How-To
It takes two people to properly fold a flag.

1. Hold the flag waist high and parallel to the ground, keep the tension in the fabric at all times. Never allow any part of the flag to touch the ground. Make a lengthwise fold to bring the striped section over the "canton," or the blue section that contains the stars.

2. Make a second lengthwise fold, bringing the canton to the outside so it is on top.

3. Starting at the end opposite the canton, make a triangular fold. Take the outermost point of your triangular edge and fold it up, forming a second triangle.

4. Continue making triangles 7 times or more, until the last triangular fold brings the stripes to the canton. Tuck the remaining flap into the slot formed between the stars and stripes. This last step, which brings the red and white stripes into the blue canton, symbolizes the day's light vanishing into the darkness of the night.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Ten Speed Press for giving everyone in our studio audience a copy of Kit Hinrich's book, "Long May She Wave." Special thanks to Annin & Co., the world's oldest and largest flag manufacturer, for supplying the flags used on the show, and for giving everyone in our studio audience a porch flag kit, a parade flag, and a flag etiquette book.

Comments (7)

  • isisisis 23 May, 2008

    i would like the meaning of the folding of the flag. Georgina Harrienger

  • janetmcco 23 May, 2008

    For all who missed the flag folding segment, you can go to: to get the meaning of each fold.

  • hippychick 23 May, 2008

    I would like this information also. We have a flag from the funeral of a relative. I would like to display the meaning of each fold along with the flag. Thanks :)

  • ellied 23 May, 2008

    I would also like to receive the meaning of each fold. My grandson is in Boy Scouts, and this would be excellent for their flag presentations> I love your show!

  • jackiestarbucks 23 May, 2008

    When watching the show today I thought "don't worry-it will be on the web site!"
    Please post this PLEASE.............

  • jaklincallow 23 May, 2008

    Is it possible for you to give us the meanings of each fold of the flag.

  • jaklincallow 23 May, 2008

    Is it possible for you to give us the meanings of each fold of the flag.