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What size is a folded flag?

by:Jarmoo      2023-08-27

What Size is a Folded Flag?

A folded flag holds a significant meaning for many individuals, symbolizing honor, sacrifice, and patriotism. It is often presented during military funerals and memorial services to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served their country. The folding process is ceremonial, precise, and steeped in tradition. But have you ever wondered what size a folded flag is? In this article, we will explore the dimensions, history, etiquette, and symbolism behind the size of a folded flag.

Understanding the Dimensions

1. The Standard Flag Size:

- For a funeral flag, the standard size is 5 feet by 9.5 feet (1.5 meters by 2.9 meters).

- However, the folded size will be significantly smaller, measuring approximately 16 inches by 16 inches (40 centimeters by 40 centimeters).

- The difference between the unfolded and folded sizes allows for precise and symbolic folding techniques.

2. Symbolism of the Dimensions:

- The large size of the unfolded flag signifies the vastness of the nation and the sacrifices made by individuals to protect it.

- The smaller, folded size represents a personal tribute and remembrance of the fallen service member.

Folding Techniques

1. The Triangular Fold:

- The triangular fold is the most well-known method of folding a flag, often used during military ceremonies.

- This technique involves folding the flag lengthwise twice, creating a long, narrow strip.

- The flag is then folded into triangles, with the triangular shape symbolizing a tricorn hat worn by soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

2. The 13-Fold Method:

- The 13-fold method is used during military and non-military ceremonies, such as retiring a flag.

- Each fold carries its symbolism, representing key principles and beliefs held by the American people.

- The 13 folds signify the original 13 colonies, the principles on which the nation was founded, and the fundamental rights and freedoms enjoyed by its citizens.

Flag Folding Etiquette

1. Respect and Dignity:

- When folding a flag, it is crucial to handle it with respect and dignity.

- The flag should never touch the ground or floor.

- It should always be treated as a sacred object, signifying the sacrifices of those who served their country.

2. Folding Ceremony:

- The folding of the flag is often accompanied by a ceremonial reading that explains the symbolism of each fold.

- This adds solemnity and meaning to the proceedings, allowing participants and spectators to better understand the importance of the flag and its representation.

Symbolism and Significance

1. Honor and Tribute:

- The folded flag is a powerful symbol of honor, paying tribute to fallen service members and showing respect for their sacrifices.

- It serves as a reminder of the price and value of freedom.

2. Comfort and Support:

- Presenting a folded flag to the family of a deceased service member is an important expression of support and condolences.

- It provides comfort and reminds them that their loved one's service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.


The size of a folded flag is significantly smaller than its unfolded counterpart. While the full-size flag represents the vastness of the country and the sacrifices made, the folded size serves as a personal tribute to the fallen service member. It is important to handle the flag with respect, following proper folding techniques and observing flag folding etiquette. Whether it is the triangular fold or the 13-fold method, each fold carries symbolism and meaning. Ultimately, a folded flag represents honor, sacrifice, and the collective gratitude of a nation.

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