american flag with gold fringe meaning
General Military Questions

American Flag With Gold Fringe Meaning

The American flag with gold fringe seems like a subtle, decorative detail.

However, upon deeper examination, some believe that the gold fringe represents an ominous meaning.

For this reason, the precise meaning of the American flag with gold fringe has been heavily debated in the past.

Learn more about the American flag with gold fringe and what makes it controversial.

Related ArticleAmerican Flag Hanging Vertically Meaning (& How To Do It Right)

American Flag With Gold Fringe Meaning

gold fringed flag

It’s true that not all American flags are the same.

The standard U.S. flag features the recognizable 50 stars with 13 red and white stripes.

Then, there are a variety of other American flag variations, including the ones that feature gold fringe.

What is the purpose of the fluffy gold fringe fabric that is sometimes sewn on the outer borders of the American flag?

After all, it’s not uncommon to spot these types of flags inside schools, courtrooms, religious institutions, and government buildings.

Moreover, U.S. flags with gold fringe are prominent in auditoriums and even in hotel lobbies.

So, what (if any) meaning does the gold fringe represent on the American flag?

According to The American Legion, the United States did not always have this variant of the Star Spangled Banner.

In fact, the American flag (or “Old Glory” as it’s sometimes called) has gone through multiple variations.

So, it’s important to first begin with the history of the American flag.

History of the American Flag

The unofficial first American flag — Grand Union Flag — dates back to 1775.

However, the most recognizable version of the Star Spangled Banner present today evolved over a long process.

In fact, the current design is actually the 27th variant of the original U.S. flag.

Accordingly, the modern 50-star version of the American flag has only been in existence since 1959.

Nevertheless, the current version of the flag is the longest-used variant (60+ yrs.) and has inspired many alternative versions.

For example, the American flag with gold fringe is frequently found in courtrooms and other public buildings.

Nevertheless, the American flag has not always existed with gold fringe.

Moreover, some consider the merits of adding the gold fringe scandalous, although the American Legion insists that it’s strictly a decorative feature.

According to The American Legion, the flag with gold fringe didn’t appear until 1835.

Today, it’s common to spot American flags with gold fringe in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The United States Army is notorious for displaying U.S. flags with gold fringe (along with other military branches).

According to The American Legion, the type of flag was adopted by U.S. Army regiments in the late 1800s.

Then, in 1895, the United States Army officially added gold fringe to all its American flags.

Since then, other service branches have sewn gold fabric along the borders of their military flag as well.

Additionally, the legal system seems to also prefer this type of flag given that many courtrooms have gold fringe American flags.

Purpose of American Flag With Gold Fringe

There are several misconceptions about the American flag with gold fringe.

For starters, the U.S. flag with gold fringe is not strictly reserved for military service or veterans.

In fact, this type of flag is frequently found in many public settings, including schools, courtrooms, and other government buildings.

Be that as it may, the U.S. Armed Forces has the longest example of displaying this version of the flag.

The American Legion reports that in the late 1800s, the U.S. Army began to incorporate the fringed flag into its regiments.

Accordingly, the Army has been displaying the flag with gold fringe for well over a century.

Regardless, it’s worth mentioning that nowhere in the U.S. Flag Code does it specifically outline this type of flag for military use, prompting some controversy.

However, U.S. Army regulations do authorize American flags with gold fringe but only for indoor or ceremonial use.

Be that as it may, this is common sense given that gold fringe is susceptible to the weather and will easily get damaged outside.

Therefore, many today associate this type of flag as mostly a decorative feature common in legal, religious, and government settings.

American Flag With Gold Fringe Controversy

There is some controversy regarding this type of flag.

In the past, critics have argued that gold fringe has a secret meaning or hidden clue that the institution operates under martial law.

However, the reality is that the American flag with gold fringe has a longstanding tradition within the U.S. Army.

Since then, it’s been adopted by countless other branches of the military as well as government institutions.

Nevertheless, critics argue that there is no mention of this type of flag in the U.S. Flag Code.

The Flag Code contains guidelines as to how to properly display a flag, but it makes no specific mention of gold fringe.

Be that as it may, the U.S. Flag Code has never been enforced despite technically being “federal law.”

In fact, the entire U.S. Flag Code is considered a non-binding document and is only a guideline for how someone should properly respect the flag.

So, no one can say for certain whether the type of flag is illegal or “unconstitutional,” despite lawsuits in the past being filed to argue that very fact.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have questions about this type of flag?

Here are some frequently asked questions:

What is the American flag with gold fringe?

This American flag variant looks like the standard version but with braided or fringed gold-colored material sewn along the outside edge.

This type of flag does not have any specific meaning but it has been utilized by the Armed Forces for over a century.

However, with that being said, this type of flag is not suitable for outdoor use since the gold fringe is easily destroyed in the elements.

As such, the U.S. flag with gold fringe is generally found inside buildings like schools and courtrooms.

Does the gold fringe mean anything on the U.S. flag?

No, not really.

There are many myths and controversies regarding this type of flag.

Be that as it may, there really isn’t any evidence that the gold fringe flag symbolizes anything nefarious.

The American Legion insists that the gold fringe is strictly a decorative feature and has no other purpose.

After all, this type of U.S. flag is common in military settings and ceremonies. 

Can only the military use a flag with gold fringe?

No, there are no rules or guidelines that insist this type of American flag is exclusive to military use.

In fact, the American flag variant is commonly found in many public, indoor settings outside the military.

Furthermore, the U.S. flag with gold fringe is not just restricted to the federal government.

It’s also been spotted among civic and civilian organizations, along with private institutions.

Does the U.S. Flag Code authorize flags with gold fringe?

The U.S. Flag Code does not specifically mention this type of flag.

There are many new, modern alternatives to the U.S. flag that became popular after the creation of the federal code.

Nonetheless, given how long the flag has been used in the U.S. Army, it’s a little surprising the federal code fails to mention it.

Still, the U.S. Flag Code is viewed as strictly advisory and is not enforced, unlike most federal laws.

Related ArticleUpside Down American Flag Meaning: 7 Things You Didn’t Know


The American flag with gold fringe is considered a decorative feature that has a long history with the U.S. Army.

Nonetheless, this hasn’t prevented some from arguing against this type of U.S. flag.

The Star Spangled Banner has undergone many different variations throughout 200 years of history.

Despite not specifically being mentioned in the U.S. Flag Code, it has been embraced by military service.

For this reason, the U.S. Army authorizes the use of this type of flag (and has been adopted by several other service branches as well).

Furthermore, the gold-fringed flag is now prominently displayed inside schools, churches, courtrooms, and government buildings.

Featured Image

Rob V.
Gold Fringed American Flag

Gold Fringed American Flag

4.5 out of 5 (17 Ratings)

Learn more about the meaning of an American flag with gold fringe, including its history, purpose, and much more.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I have personally vetted. Learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *