Tuesday, August 16, 2011

American Traditions: Why Our Fallen Soldiers and Sailors Are Covered By The American Flag




Our soldiers deserve the utmost respect, in life and in death. When one of our soldiers or veterans dies, as long as he or she has not been labeled ‘dishonorable’, they are given a full military funeral. A full military funeral means that a military chaplain performs the ceremony, an American flag is draped over the casket, a team of riflemen of three to seven members fire a three-volley salute, and ‘Taps’ is performed by a bugler as a final salute.

The most common item people see in a soldier’s funeral is the flag draped coffin. The blue portion of the flag is placed at the head of the coffin directly over the soldiers left shoulder. This custom began in the eighteenth century when a flag was placed over the deceased as they were being carried off of the battle field.

After the flag is folded, it is presented to the next of kin with the straight edge facing the recipient. This is done by an honor guard who is representing one of the five branches of the Armed Forces. The folding of the flag represents religious significance to the ceremony itself and to those who participate in the funeral.

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