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What Does the Gold Fringe on the American Flag Mean?

Published on
June 8, 2022 at 1:56:04 PM PDT June 8, 2022 at 1:56:04 PM PDTth, June 8, 2022 at 1:56:04 PM PDT

There are several possible interpretations of why the gold fringe is decorating the Old Glory. The gold fringe on the American flag is oftentimes seen in courtrooms and similar institutions, so does that mean it is reserved for special occasions only? Not really. Here are some explanations about what purpose the gold fringe on the American flag serves.

A Sign of Marital Law

Is the gold fringe on the US flag a sign of marital or maritime law? Not at all. The gold fringe on the outer part of the flag does not imply the flag is strictly military and it does not carry any other secret meaning. 

A Decorative Purpose 

Is the gold fringe on the United States flag today added for decorative purposes? Yes, indeed. Nowadays, you can even purchase Stars and Stripes with gold fringes all around it, and fly it in front of your porch. Will it carry a special significance? No. Are you going to get looks and questions from your neighbors? Most probably, yes. 

What Does the Flag Code Say?

The U.S. flag code does not explicitly mention the gold fringe flag, its uses or any bans and permissions either.

Fringe Flag Origins

Looking at US history, the fringe was first seen on the American flag in 1835. Yet, it was not an official action, so in 1835 the fringes were officially added to the US flag for all Army regiments. On the other hand, it is not illegal to fly a flag with fringes in the USA even when you don’t belong to the army. More importantly, the fringe is just an honorable enrichment and does not confer admiralty or maritime jurisdiction.

Official Records and Statements

The first official record was in 1835, and from 1925, we have an opinion by the attorney general that the usage of the gold fringe is customary and nor restricted to the Federal Government. A gold fringe American flag can be displayed by military, civic and civilian organizations, as well as private individuals. Generally, there isn’t a custom of using a fringed national flag as an internment flag, i.e., in prisons and similar institutions, nor are they normally seen on stationary flagpoles.

Why does the American flag have a Gold Fringe?

To sum up, the gold fringe on the American flag is an honorable enrichment and it is in line with the military tradition. The fringes are purely decorative, but when you read between the lines, you will normally avoid flying such a flag in front of your home or business. The yellow fringe is more commonly seen on the indoor American flags, typically used as ceremonial flags for veterans day affairs or Memorial Day celebrations, typically carried by the American legion groups. Some flag sets come standard with gold fringe, and on others, it is an option to be added at no additional cost.

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