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Folding the Flag

Martha Stewart Living, Volume 61 July/August 1998

When not on display, the United States flag should be folded into a triangle, emblematic of the three-cornered hats worn by Colonial soldiers in the Revolutionary War. It takes two people to do it properly, as the flag should never touch the ground during any lowering or folding.

1. Both people should hold out the flag waist high, with its surface parallel to the ground. Fold the flag in half lengthwise, bringing the striped lower section over the canton (the blue field of stars).

2. Fold it again lengthwise, bringing the canton to the outside.

3. Start a triangular fold by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge up to meet the open edge. The outer point is then turned inward to form a second triangle. Continue folding the flag in this manner seven more times.

4. The last triangular fold brings the red and white stripes into the star-strewn blue field, symbolizing the day's light vanishing into the darkness of the night. When the flag is completely folded, only the blue field and stars should be visible. Tuck the remaining flap into the pocket formed between the stars and stripes.