Standard Bearers: Elementary students honored for respecting U.S. flag during a rainstorm

Published on August 24, 2017  |  By 2ANews.us 
In Patriotism, Respect for the Flag, Videos

Isaac Davis and Nate Helmath lower the flag in the rain at Coppergate Elementary School, Middleberg, Florida (Image: Coppergate Elementary School)

School boys praised for respecting the flag during a rainstorm

Nate Helmath protecting the flag at Coppergate Elementary School, Middleberg, Florida
Nate Helmath protecting the flag at Coppergate Elementary School, Middleberg, Florida (Image: Coppergate Elementary School)

Isaac Davis and Nate Helmath are members of the safety patrol at Coppergate Elementary School in Middleburg, Florida. The 11-year old boys are in charge of lowering the school’s U.S. flag at dismissal time. Last week, a torrential rain storm descended on the area as the school day drew to its close.

Despite the downpour, the boys walked to the flag pole, lowered the flag, and then stood respectfully in the pouring rain as they folded the flag into its traditional 13-fold triangle. Then, with Isaac at his back, Nate returned the flag to the school, protecting it from the rain against his chest.

The school noted the boy’s attention to their duty, and their respect for the school’s flag, and shared the event on it’s Facebook page. “This is what RESPECT looks like at Coppergate,” the school wrote, adding, “We are so proud of Nate and Isaac for their responsibility, respect, devotion to duty and love of country.”

Standard bearer Isaac Davis, after returning the flag at Coppergate Elementary School, Middleberg, Florida
Standard bearer Isaac Davis, after returning the flag at Coppergate Elementary School, Middleberg, Florida (Image: Coppergate Elementary School)

Nate, whose parents served in the military, was later interviewed by a local FOX News affiliate, and told the interviewer that it was “the respectful thing to do.” Isaac added his agreement, “I feel like we have good people in the country and that we should all be good.”

The school’s media specialist, Kim Emikowski, who took the photos and shared them on Facebook, told the station, “They were folding the flag reverently. They were reverent, and they were doing 13 folds … and you know, our country is in a little bit of turmoil … it just struck me,” she noted, “When they walked away they held it… cradled it to protect it, and it was just a moment that was meant to be, I think.”

The reason for the 13 folds

Isaac Davis and Nate Helmath complete the "13 folds" at Coppergate Elementary School, Middleberg, Florida
Isaac Davis and Nate Helmath complete the “13 folds” at Coppergate Elementary School, Middleberg, Florida (Image: Coppergate Elementary School)

Traditional flag etiquette prescribes that, before an American flag is stored or presented, its handlers fold it in half lengthwise, and then fold that again in half lengthwise.

Then, beginning from the end opposite the blue field, the handler makes a triangular fold. That handler then continues to fold it in triangles until the other end has been reached, completing a total of thirteen folds.

“This is what RESPECT looks like at Coppergate. We are so proud of Nate and Isaac for their responsibility, respect, devotion to duty and love of country.” – Coppergate Elementary School

This folding transforms the flag into a triangle with the blue starred field showing on the outside. This process takes thirteen folds to complete, two lengthwise folds, and eleven triangular folds. Detailed instructions for folding the U.S. flag may be found on the American Legion website.

Folded American flag (Image: Beverly & Pack / Flickr Creative Commons license)

The U.S. flag is folded this way because it provides a dignified and ceremonial show of respect that distinguishes the flag from an ordinary object such as a bed sheet, and because it results a visually appealing, easy-to-handle shape.

Over the years, people and organizations have attached various symbolic meanings to these 13 folds, ranging from a representation of the original 13 colonies, to religious and civic statements.

The U.S. flag – its official purpose and symbolism

The United States flag is an official symbol of the United States of America. The U.S. flag’s symbolic meaning and purpose is constant, explicit, and has been codified into law.

Before June 14, 1923, now honored as National Flag Day, there were no federal or state regulations governing the display of the U.S. Flag. On that date, the National Flag Code was adopted by the National Flag Conference.

On June 22, 1942, during the early days of World War II, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution, later amended on December 22, 1942, that became Public Law 829; Chapter 806, 77th Congress, 2nd session, governing the precise rules for the use and display of the U.S. flag (36 U.S.C. 173-178).

The symbol of our country and our freedoms

The symbolic meaning of the flag has been explicitly defined by Presidential proclamation.

On July 6, 1971, President Richard Nixon issued Proclamation No. 4064, 36 F.R. 12967,stating the flag “symbolize[s] our enduring Federal Union”.

In 1972, President Nixon also issued Proclamation. No. 4131, 37 F.R. 9311, identifying the flag as “the symbol of our country and our freedoms”.

Disrespecting the flag is violation of U.S. Code

United States Code Section 174 (e) requires, “The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.” Section 174 (g) further states, “The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.”

In addition, United States Code Title 4 states “No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America”.


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