We fold the flags once again for the Skylighters who've gone. Long after putting away their uniform, thankfully. Proud participants in turning what may have become a century of darkness into one of light.

Please remember them with lasting gratitude; miss them with lasting love. Pray for them.

The Thirteen Farewells

Once the American flag has been raised from the coffin by the bearers, it always receives its first fold and a lengthwise manner, and it is this initial fold that serves all Americans as a symbol of life itself.

The second fold, which is again made in a lengthwise configuration, symbolizes our belief in the eternal life.

The third fold, the first one that is done in the trianglar manner, is put in place in the American flag in honor and rememberance of the departing veteran. This fold marks the individual as a person who gave a portion of his or her life in defense of our country and to maintain peace through the entire world.

The fourth fold of the American flag denotes our weaker nature; for as concerned American citizens we trust in God and we turn to Him not only in time of peace but in time of war as well for his divine guidance.

Fold number five, one that is done as a tribute to America itself.

The sixth fold is done to show where all American hearts lie. For it is with our hearts that we "Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America."

The seventh fold of the flag pays tribute to all men and women of our armed forces, for only these brave individuals have we protected our Nation and our flag against all enemies.

The eighth fold signifies the honor accorded the individual before us, a person who now enters into the Valley of the Shadow of Death so that we might all see the light of another day. It also serves to honor this person's mother, for whom we fly the American flag on Mother's Day.

The ninth fold of this veteran's flag pays homage to womanhood, for it is only through a woman's adherence to her faith, her abiding love, her deep loyalty and her unfaltering devotion that the character of all men and women who have made America great has been molded.

The flag's tenth fold honor America's fathers, and we readily acknowledge that it is the father who willingly gives his sons and daughters for the defense of this great country - and the sacrifice of a man's children has been a tragic fact of life since this nation began.

The eleventh fold, as is viewed through the eyes of the Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and it glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It also reminds us of American's acceptance of all faiths.

The twelfth fold, as beheld by American's Christian citizen, represents the emblem of eternity - and glorifies, in their belief, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The thirteenth and final fold, having created with its completion a perfect triangle, is the symbol of the traditional "cooked hat" worn by the troops of American's Revolutionary War. These were the first people to openly defend our thirteen colonies against tyranny and oppression.

Please take note that as the bright red and white stripes are gradually folded into the blue union, they disappear in a manner representative of the way each day eventually fades into the blue of the sky here in "The Land of The Free And Home Of The Brave."

As it is handed to the next of kin, our beautiful American flag has given this veteran "Thirteen Farewells."

God grant them Eternal Peace.

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For he has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Veteran,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It's so easy to forget them,
For it is so many times
That our Bob's and Jim's and Johnny's,
Went to battle, but we know,

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Veteran--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Military's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simply headline
In the paper that might say: