June 22, 2020 / 2:34 PM / 17 days ago

Fact check: The folded flag is not reserved exclusively for veterans

Social media users have been sharing content online that claims the folded flag, which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presented to the family of George Floyd,should be reserved for those who served in the military. This is partly false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Examples of the claim can be seen here and here .

One post reads:”Nancy Pelosi presented George Floyd’s brother with a folded American flag that should be reserved for service men and women. This is something you can earn through service to our country or to your state or community. This is not something we just toss around. This is an extreme insult to all who served as military or first responders.”

George Floyd’s funeral took place on June 9, 2020. It followed two weeks of protests ignited by graphic video footage of a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The video shows Floyd gasping for air as he cries out, “Mama,” and groans, “Please, I can’t breathe,” before falling silent and still ( here ).

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presented the flag that flew over the Capitol on the day Floyd was killed to his family. In a tweet, Pelosi said:“Philonise Floyd’s heart-wrenching testimony to @HouseJudiciary left its mark on us all. May this flag, which flew over the Capitol on the day of his brother’s murder, serve as a symbol of our shared commitment to securing justice for George & all victims of police violence.” ( here )

A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi confirmed via phone that the claim the flag gifted to Floyd’s family is exclusively reserved for military personnel is false.

These flags can be gifted through the Capitol Flag Program fulfilled by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) which began in 1937 ( www.aoc.gov/flags ). Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives can request flags to honor “the work of groups such as schools and civic organizations” and other special occasions. AOC fulfills more than 100,000 requests per year on average and flags are flown daily.

AOC explains on its website: “There are special flag poles where all flags are flown. After it is flown over the U.S. Capitol, each flag is issued a keepsake Certificate of Authenticity by the AOC.”

Several Senators and Congressmen have dedicated pages on their websites to request a flag from their staff. ( here ), ( here ) and ( here ).


Partly false. While it can be given to those who served in the military, the folded flag is not reserved only for this purpose.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work here .

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