Joseph H. VerStraten, Sr.

Written by Chapter President and wife of Joseph, Flora L. VerStraten, August 17, 2008

Joseph Howard VerStraten Sr., died in an accident on June 2, 2008 in Richmond, Jefferson County, Ohio. He served on the Air craft carrier, the USS America during Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986.

The following is the obituary that appeared in the local Steubenville Herald Star Newspaper on Wednesday, June 4, 2008.

Joseph H. 'Joe' VerStraten - VERSTRATEN, Joseph H. 'Joe,' 51, of Richmond died Monday, June 2, 2008, from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on State Route 152 in Richmond. He was born in Steubenville on November 3, 1956, a son of the late Joseph and Wava Paul Bates. He was a High Priest at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Wintersville. Joe was employed for 32 years by Local 495 Plumbers and Pipefitters, where he was a Pipefitter; and welder. He was also a OSHA instructor; and had served in the US Navy in Operation El Dorado Canyon on the U.S.S. America. Joe is survived by his wife, Flora Barrett VerStraten, son Joseph (Mary) H. VerStraten, Jr., of Fairbanks, Alaska; daughter, Rachel (Jason) Freeland of Toronto, Ohio; granddaughters, Samantha, Sabrina, Sierra VerStraten and Victoria and Isabelle Freeland; two brothers [John and William VerStraten], and one sister.

Friends may call on Thursday 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 437 Powell's Lane, Wintersville, where services will be held on Friday at 10a.m.

Burial in Fort Steuben Burial Estates. Memorial contributions may be made to the church's family history department. Offer condolences at

Meaning of Flag Draped Coffin

All Americans should be given this lesson

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?
Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life. The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life. The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance. The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, ‘Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.’

The 6th fold is for where people’s hearts lie. It is with their heart that They pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day. The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded. The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for He, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born. The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their nations motto, ‘In God We Trust.’

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you’ll see flags folded and now you will know why.

Share this with the children you love and all others who love what is referred to as, the symbol of ‘Liberty and Freedom.’

News Articles

Jan 23, 2014 - VerStraten honored at retirement ceremony -

July 30, 2010 - VerStraten earns Bronze Star -