Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Demands that the Associated Press Correct Misinformation in Dealing with Flag-Folding Ceremonies

Fall 2007

The Associated Press reported on October 25, 2007, "Flag-folding recitations by Memorial Honor Detail volunteers are now banned at the nation's 125 veterans graveyards because of a complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery." The article went on to say that the complaint "revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and "glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob," an insensitive misinformation causing grief to those already praying for a relative.

The tenor of the complaint, as reported in the article, was a direct result of anti-Semitism, and gave the clear implication that the flag-folding recital was an officially-sanctioned ceremony that has been banned because of the fold relating to Judaism.

According to a spokesman for the VA, the recitation of the meaning of the various folds in the flag during a burial is an unofficial script circulating by anonymous authors. Rather than being an official part of the burial ceremony, "There are no federal laws related to the flag that assign any special meaning to the individual folds of the flag. The National Cemetery Administration must not give meaning, or appear to give meaning to the folds of the flag by endorsing or distributing any handouts on "The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag."

Rather than being an example of anti-Semitism, the criticism of the 11th fold referred to a misprint in one of the hand-outs given out at many ceremonies. The VA recommendation against the use of the hand-out was undertaken to solve these errors.

While the hand-out is no longer distributed, "the reading of "The Meaning of Each Fold of an Honor Guard Funeral Flag" is authorized in our national cemeteries when the next-of-kin arranges for military honors with their local VSA and requests the reading during the committal service."

We demand that the Associated Press correct and reissue the story.

We commend the VA for their speedy work in stifling the misinformation.


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