DO THE FOLDS OF THE AMERICAN FLAG HAVE ANY SIGNIFICANCE ?
NO and here is why
The meanings of the folds in a flag is like the joke told by comedian Steven Wright: "Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?" Somtimes a "meaning" has been grafted onto some facet of everyday life, to the point that this false meaning has been confused with the original purpose.
Traditional flag etiquette prescribes that before an American flag is stored or presented, its handlers should twice fold it in half lengthwise; then (from the end opposite the blue field) make a triangular fold, continuing to fold it in triangles until the other end is reached. This makes a triangular "pillow" of the flag with only the blue starred field showing on the outside, and it takes thirteen folds to produce: two lengthwise folds and eleven triangular ones.
The American flag isn't folded in this manner because the thirteen folds correspond to the original thirteen states, or because the folding produces a shape resembling a cocked hat, or because each of the folds has a special symbolic meaning. The flag is folded this way simply because it provides a dignified ceremonial touch that distinguishes folding a The U. S. Flag from folding an ordinary object such as a bedsheet, and because it results in a visually pleasing, easy-to-handle shape. That this process requires thirteen folds is coincidental, not the product of design.
All flags other then the American Flag are folded four corner not three.
No one knows for sure who designed the first flag (and I won't go into the whole story here). No record was kept as to why the colors were chosen (though patterns and colors were usually chosen to be easily recognizable through battle field smoke and "fog of war"). Hence there is no Known special significance to the colors in the American Flag.
IS A 21 GUN SALUTE FIRED OVER THE GRAVE AT A MILITARY FUNERAL?
NO and here is why
Sometime back, I was asked who rates a 21-gun salute. I'll answer that, but it is probably not the question that meant to be ask.
Gun salutes are fired by naval guns and/or by saluting batteries with artillery pieces. Twenty-one guns are a national (fired in honor of a national flag) or royal salute. The only individuals entitled to this salute are Presidents or former Presidents of the United States, heads of foreign states and members of a reigning royal family. That's it. Some other personal gun salutes rated are 19 guns for the Vice President and the same for the Secretary of the Navy. The Commandant of the Marine Corps and Chief of Naval Operations also rate 19 guns while other generals and admirals rate 17. Lieutenant generals rate 15, major generals 13 and brigadier generals 11.
That's a very short, partial explanation of gun salutes for individuals.
NOTE: There is NO significance that numbers in 1776 add up to 21.
Now I'll try to answer the question I believe was really meant to be ask.
The real question is who rates the three volleys fired at a military funeral. Anyone entitled to military honors is entitled to the volleys, subject to the availability of a firing detail. Somehow this has become confused with a 21-gun salute. I've even seen news releases from official sources referring to the volleys as such.
The three volleys fired at a funeral are just that, nothing more. They are NOT a 21-gun salute or any other gun salute. Why then are so many people today confused and erroneously call the three volleys a 21-gun salute? Who knows? Possibly because someone saw a seven-member detail fire three rounds at a funeral. He may have multiplied the three rounds by seven and decided that this must be a 21-gun salute. And it caught on and spread-and spread. Never mind the fact that he should have been taught in boot camp or military academy that a rifle is not a gun. Also, firing details can consist of any number of riflemen, But an odd number is prefered.
ARE THERE WORDS TO 'TAPS'? And WAS THE MUSIC FOUND IN A DEAD SOLDIERS POCKET BY HIS FATHER?
NO and here is why
Taps was composed in July 1862 at Harrison's Landing in Virginia. How the call came into being was never anything more than one influential soldier deciding his unit could use a bugle call for particular occasions and setting about to come up with one.
If anyone can be said to have composed 'Taps,' it was Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, Commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, during the American Civil War. Dissatisfied with the customary firing of three rifle volleys at the conclusion of burials during battle and also needing a method of ceremonially imparting meaning to the end of a soldier's day, he likely altered an older piece known as "Tattoo," a French bugle call used to signal "lights out," into the call we now know as 'Taps.' (Alternatively, he wrote the whole thing from scratch, a possibility not at all supported by his lack of musical background and ability.)
Whether he wrote it straight from the cuff or improvised something new by rearranging an older work, Butterfield brought 'Taps' into being. With the help of his bugler, Oliver W. Norton of Chicago, the concept was transformed into its present form. "Taps" was quickly taken up by both sides of the conflict, and within months was being sounded by buglers in both Union and Confederate forces.
Then as now, 'Taps' serves as a vital component in ceremonies honoring military dead. It is also understood by American servicemen as an end-of-day 'lights out' signal.
'Taps is a military bugle call, as such there are NO words to 'Taps' and it is sounded NOT played.
When 'Taps' is sounded at a military funeral, it is customary to salute if in uniform, or place your hand over your heart if not.
THE NOTCH IN THE OLD STYLE DOG TAGS WAS TO PUT BETWEEN A DEAD SOLDIERS TEETH?
NO and here is why
One of the more common myths involves the reason for the notch on the tag issued between 1941 and the early 1970's. Battlefield rumor held that the notched end of the tag was placed between the front teeth of battlefield casualties to hold the jaws in place. No official record of American soldiers being issued these instructions exists; the only purpose of "the notch" was to hold the blank tag in place on the embossing machine. The machine used at this time doesn't require a notch to hold the blank in place, hence, today's tags are smooth on all sides.
Did The Guards at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldiers refuse a direct order to leave their post and seek shelter during Hurricane Isabel on 19 September 2003?
NO and here is why
A contingency plan had been established that if winds reached 120 mph the guards could retreat from their usual (exposed-to-the-elements) posts in the tomb plaza to take up positions in the trophy room, which is above the tomb plaza and has a clear view of the sepulcher. This plan was not put into effect because winds did not reach this velocity.
DOES an E-mail circulating on the Internet accurately describe the duties and obligations of honor guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
Yes & NO some are true, and others are ridiculous
The E-mail and the true and false items are to long and detailed to list here. Please copy or cut and paste the following link to SNOPES.COM into your browser's search window for the true facts.
DOES The Truck (gold ball) atop a military flagpole contains a razor, a match, and a bullet??
NO, This one is to ridiculous to waste space commenting on. But for those interested, please copy or cut and paste the following link to SNOPES.COM into your browser's search window for the true facts.
The eagle does not turn
Some people think that the Seal of the President of the United States changes during wartime. The regular seal has the eagle's head facing the talon holding an olive branch, the symbol of peace. The "wartime" seal is reputed to have the eagle's head turned to face the talon clutching a group of arrows.
Although the Seal of the President of the United States has undergone some changes over the years, its design is fixed by executive order and is not altered during wartime. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued an executive order that changed the design so that the eagle's head faced the talon holding the arrows. The last major change in the seal was made by President Harry S Truman in 1945. Among the changes was the reversal of the eagle's head so that it once more faced in the same direction as the one on the Great Seal of the United States. According to biographer David McCullough, "Truman meant the shift in the eagle's gaze to be seen as symbolic of a nation both on the march and dedicated to peace."
The notion of a presidential seal that featured as its centerpiece an eagle whose gaze changed direction based upon the state of world conflict was the subject of a wry comment made by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he was visiting with President Truman in 1946. Pointing to the President's seal on the wall of a train car, Truman explained that he had the eagle's head turned to face the olive branch. Churchill said he thought the eagle's head should be on a swivel!