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1008 PD: Just dropping by ... Symbols of our nation

Yevet Tenney Published on 30 June 2008

On Memorial Day, we took our children to the cemetery to place flowers of the graves of our ancestors and to remember.As we wove in and out among the headstones, we noticed many faded flags waving among the new flags placed on the graves of veterans.

One flag was dusting the dirt. I gathered it up as I thought of the young men who had died to save the flag from falling to the ground or falling into the hands of the enemy. I said, “We will have to take this one home and burn it.” Angel, my ten-year-old wanted to know why we had to burn it. “The flag is sacred,” I said. “Many soldiers have given their lives for our country and we want to honor them.” Images of war clouded my brain. The price for our freedom is incomprehensible, and little by little because we have peace and prosperity, complacency sets in and we forget. Because we forget, we do not teach our children, and they will never know the gratitude we once felt in our hearts for this great land and for the sacrifice of the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

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Later that evening, Reg, my husband, and my son, Craig, a new scout, took down the flag that had been flying at the top of our flagpole. Fold by fold, they put it into a triangle and tucked the corner in. I knew there was a reason for folding the flag in that particular way, and I wanted to know what those reasons were. I went to the internet, and found some information:

“The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

“The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.

“The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks and who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

“The fourth fold 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.

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“The fifth fold is 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.’

“The sixth fold is for 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.

“The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

“The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

“The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

“The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.

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“The eleventh fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, 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.

“The twelfth fold, 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.

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

“After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the armed forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.”

As I read the information, I wondered how anyone could think that we could possibly be anything but a Christian nation, and I was sickened by the fact that we are held hostage by people who have no faith, no respect for heritage and no desire to honor those who have gone before. They give lip service to freedom, while they slither to take away all that is sacred and meaningful to true Americans.

In my search for symbols in folding the flag, I had learned so much, I wanted to find out more.

“Ever wonder why the flag is red, white, and blue? While the flag’s colors did not have a specific meaning at the time, the colors were significant for the Great Seal of 1782.

• White: Signifies purity and innocence

• Red: Signifies valor and bravery

• Blue: Signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice

“Why stars and stripes? Stars are considered a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun.”

I knew the Great Seal of 1782 had great significance, but I wasn’t sure how it all fit in. I wanted to know, so that I could pass it on to my children. History in many ways has been rewritten to serve selfish agendas. Here is what I found:

In the center of the seal is a bald eagle, our national bird. It holds in its beak a scroll inscribed E pluribus unum, which is Latin meaning “out of many, one” and stands for one nation that was created from 13 colonies. In one claw is an olive branch, while the other holds a bundle of thirteen arrows. The olive branch and arrows “denote the power of peace and war.”

A shield with thirteen red and white stripes covers the eagle’s breast. The shield is supported solely by the American eagle to denote that Americans should rely on their own virtue. The red and white stripes of the shield represent the states united under and supporting the blue, representing the president and Congress. The color white signifies purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. Above the eagle’s head is a cloud surrounding a blue field containing thirteen stars, which forms a constellation. The constellation denotes that a new state is taking its place among other nations.

Do you see a pattern of thirteen in the Great Seal?

• 13 stars in the crest above the eagle

• 13 stripes in the shield upon the eagle’s breast

• 13 arrows in the eagle’s left claw

• 13 olives and leaves in the eagle’s right claw

• 13 letters in the motto carried by the eagle; E Pluribus Unum

Why thirteen? Thirteen represents the first thirteen states – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

The seal’s reverse side is sometimes referred to as the spiritual side. It contains a 13-step pyramid with the year 1776 in Roman numerals at the base. At the top of the pyramid is the Eye of Providence and above is the motto Annuit Coeptis, meaning “It [the Eye of Providence] is favorable to our undertakings” or “He favors our undertakings.” Below the pyramid, a scroll reads, Novus Ordo Seclorum, meaning “New Order of the Ages.” It refers to 1776 as the beginning of the American new era.

This Fourth of July, when you see the flag marching in a parade, or see soldiers or Boy Scouts fold the flag, you will take a moment to consider the Christian values and principles that made America great, and as you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you will remember, that we really are “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” Let us not forget, God is the one who made this nation, and if we take Him out of the picture, our nation will crumble into a third-world country where dictators decide the fate of human beings. PD

Mary Jane’s Old-Fashioned Honey Caramels
2 cups honey
1 can evaporated milk or cup
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 cup chopped nuts
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix honey and milk. Cook until it forms a firm ball (255º). Stir in butter, nuts, vanilla and salt. Pour into buttered dish. Let cool and cut.

Yevet Tenney

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