Flag Folding Rant

Hey folks, I’m going to try to keep this one short, although I make no guarantees.  So let’s get started and for good effect we’ll start on a downer.  My Great Grandfather recently passed away.  He was born in 1917, so yeah…97 years old at time of death; only a few months from 98.

Now, being born in 1917 that means that when World War II broke out he was 24 years old.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served during the war.  When I was a child I had to interview him for a school project and summed up his war-time service as, “…pushing papers in California.”  Even so, being a war-time veteran he is afforded certain posthumous honors, such as a flag encasing his casket at the funeral and said flag being folded up and given to his eldest surviving daughter (my grandmother).

This is where the rant begins.  You see, this is the American flag:

US_flag_48_stars_svg

In case you aren’t aware there is a very specific way you are supposed to fold it.  It should wind up looking something like this when you’re done:

And handing it to the widow(er) or child of the deceased.

And handing it to the widow(er) or child of the deceased.

The Army had sent two E-6 ranked soldiers (Staff Sergeants) to oversee the flag ceremony.  For those completely unknowing of how the army works, the ranks only go to E-9.  In order to get to E-6 you must be a good soldier with about 6 years or an exceptional soldier with about 4 years of service in the Army and have an opening in your MOS (your job class).

So we’re looking at between 8 and 12 years of combined Army experience, if not more.  And they butchered the ceremony.  These two dolts had no idea what they were doing.  Here are some basic directions on how to fold the American flag:

Flag_Fold

Did you read the directions?  Congratulations, you now are more qualified to perform the ceremony than these two Staff Sergeants were!  They started off by putting the blue field on the top and folding it over so only the stripes were showing.  They managed to figure out their error and corrected it, starting over.

They got it all folded lengthwise, then one of them began bringing up the triangle pattern.  He got to the last fold, step number seven on that picture, and they both just stared at each other for a moment, then they just kind of…wrapped the extra over the edge and crimped it tightly in their hands, like it was a piece of paper they could just fold and crease to stay in place.

Is this what the Army sends to Veteran’s funerals nowadays?  Really?  I’ve seen cub scouts fold a flag way better than these two sods did!

Good god, if they had been my cadets, back when I was in ROTC?  I would have made them do it again, apologize to the next of kin both orally and in writing, and then had a flag put in their profiles for the next promotion cycle so they couldn’t go up another undeserved rank.

And that brings me to how poor of a commanding officer they have.  You really send this kind of trash to oversee the funeral of a veteran?  Turn in your stars, bars, leafs, or whatever you don’t deserve to wear and take off the uniform.  Turn it back in to the quartermasters and just leave.  Go someplace unimportant, like Suriname.

Even you couldn't screw up folding this thing!

Even you couldn’t screw up folding this thing!

~RCS

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