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Flag-folding recitations now banned at national cemeteries

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 27, 2007 10:32 AM

I’m getting a lot of e-mail about this maddening story in the Military Times about flag-folding recitals being banned at military funerals in national cemeteries:

Flag-folding recitations by Memorial Honor Detail volunteers are now banned at the nation’s 125 veterans graveyards because of a complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery.

During thousands of military burials, the volunteers have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors.

The first fold represents life, the second a belief in eternal life, and so on.

The complaint revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and “glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”

The National Cemetery Administration then decided to ban the entire recital at all national cemeteries. Details of the complaint weren’t disclosed.

Administration spokesman Mike Nacincik said the new policy outlined in a Sept. 27 memorandum is aimed at creating uniform services throughout the military graveyard system.

He said the 13-fold recital is not part of the U.S. Flag Code and is not government-approved.

Veterans and honor detail volunteers, including Bobby Castillo, 85, and Rees Lloyd, 59, are furious.

“That the actions of one disgruntled, whining, narcissistic and intolerant individual is preventing veterans from getting the honors they deserve is truly an outrage,” Lloyd said. “This is another attempt by secularist fanatics to cleanse any reference to God.”

Castillo, a Navy veteran of World War II, said it’s “a slap in the face to every veteran.”

“When we got back from the war, we didn’t ask for a whole lot,” Castillo said. “We just want to give our veterans the respect they deserve. No one has ever complained to us about it. I just don’t understand.”

Here’s the banned recital:

Flag folds

These meanings, not part of the U.S. Flag Code, have been ascribed to the 13 folds of American flags at veterans burial services:

1. Symbol of life.

2. Symbol of our belief in the eternal life.

3. In honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.

4. 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 times of war for His divine guidance.

5. A tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”

6. Represents 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.

7. A tribute to our armed forces.

8. A tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

9. A tribute to womanhood.

10. A tribute to father.

11. In the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

12. In the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

13. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

***

STACLU notes: “All it takes is one whiner.”

Cao’s Blog calls it a slap in the face.

Vets plan to ignore the ban.

More at the Riverside Press Enterprise.

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