The Founding Folds
“The whole inspiration of our life as a nation flows out from the waving folds of this banner.” –Author Unknown
America’s service men and women knowingly risk their lives by choosing to protect and serve their country. Our country. And while they face unknown horrors in the fields of battle, their families are confronted with an equally devastating reality at home when a loved one in uniform is killed or wounded.
Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, became painfully aware of this crushing truth while returning home from his second tour of duty in Iraq. As his flight touched down, the pilot announced they carried the remains of Corporal Brock Bucklin on board and asked--out of respect for his heroism and family--all passengers to remain seated while his casket deboarded.
Major Rooney watched the flag-covered casket exit the plane. He watched Corporal Bucklin’s twin brother, who had had accompanied his fallen brother home from Iraq, walk somberly among the procession to meet his family. Among them was the deceased Corporal’s young son, Jacob. Major Rooney ached as he thought of his own beloved wife and little girls at home. The experience of seeing the other side of war through the eyes of Jacob, was instantly life-altering for Rooney.
A few moments later, Rooney returned his awareness to the cabin of the plane. Sadly, more than half of the passengers on the flight had disregarded the pilot’s request and had deboarded. Torn by this irreverent display in the light of the agony he saw in the eyes of loved ones left behind, Major Rooney decided he had to act. He needed to do something...first, to pay tribute to American soldiers and to their families; and secondly, to live as a reminder among civilians that it is our duty to appreciate and honor the ultimate sacrifices of our heroic service members who preserve the freedoms each of us so easily take for granted.
Knowing he couldn’t change the fate of fallen soldier Corporate Bucklin, Major Rooney made a decision to spend his life changing the future of America’s grieving spouses and children. In 2007, he formed the Folds of Honor Foundation...a 501C-3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities otherwise unavailable to this most deserving group of heroic American citizens.
Today, Folds of Honor Foundation exists to provide hope of a brighter future for those whose lives have been permanently altered as a result of their service to our great nation.
A Name of Honor
The United States flag is our nation’s most beloved symbol of freedom. When it flies, we are reminded of our American freedom. When lowered and folded, it becomes a solemn tribute to our servicemen and women and the allegiance, valor and pride with which they have fought for generations. During the flag-folding ritual, each fold offers honor and remembrance for America’s greatest individuals, values and beliefs.
It is in the sixth fold – made to honor the Pledge of Allegiance – that our hearts lie. For it is with allegiance and pride that we now give back to those service members who continue to protect America’s blanket of freedom.