Gold fringe border

Gold fringe border

There are a variety of ideas put out regarding the meaning of the fringe on the flag. The most important one from a constitutional perspective is the claim that that flag with fringe is a flag that indicates admiralty law is in effect wherever that flag is displayed, such as in a court room. If true that would mean that courts which have a fringed flag (which is almost all courts in the land) are not Constitutional courts (Article Three Courts) but Admiralty Courts where Constitutional provisions do not apply but rather Admiralty law prevails. Now take that idea and put it together with the clear reality that most of our courts are not following the Constitution as ratified by our founders, but some other form of unconstitutional law such as international law, and you can see why this idea has gained legs in the patriot community. Thus this theory would help us understand the other wise infuriating and treasonous actions of the judicial branch. So the theory claims we are under martial rule and admiralty law, some would date that from The War to Prevent Southern Independence, others from World War I or World War II; it matters not according to this theory because the end result is that today we are no longer under the Constitution but under martial law and the fringed flag is but one demonstration of that reality.
But such a theory has one gigantic problem, there has been no legal suspension of the U.S. Constitution, it is still the supreme law of the land. Even though it is violated daily in Washington D.C. and all across this land, it still is the law and can and must still be enforced by all those who take an oath to uphold it – whether military folk or politicians. So even if the above theory were true, and the quote below I believe dispels that idea, the Constitution is still the supreme law of the land even when grossly violated as it is in our day. And our duty as citizens is to educate an ever widening circle of Americans on the true meaning of our Constitution so that we can restore the Republic. I think the Admiralty law theory brings despair and hopelessness to patriots who are told we have no way to restore America.

Some researchers have concluded,

There is no record of an Act of Congress or Executive Order which either prescribes or prohibits the addition of fringe, nor is there any indication that any symbolism was ever associated with it. The use of fringe is optional with the person or organization displaying the flag.

This additional quote is from the book “So Proudly We Hail, The History of the United States Flag” Smithsonian Institute Press 1981, by Wiliam R. Furlong and Byron McCandless.

The placing of a fringe on Our Flag is optional with the person or organization, and no Act of Congress or Executive Order either prohibits the practice, according to the Institute of Hearaldry.

Fringe is used on indoor flags only, as fringe on flags on outdoor flags would deteriorate rapidly. The fringe on a Flag is considered an ‘honorable enrichment only’, and its official use by the US Army dates from 1895. A 1925 Attorney General’s Opinion (34 Op. Atty. Gen 483) states:

the fringe does not appear to be regarded as an integral part of the Flag, and its presence cannot be said to constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statute. An external fringe is to be distinguished from letters, words, or emblematic designs printed or superimposed upon the body of the flag itself. Under law, such additions might be open to objection as unauthorized; but the same is not necessarily true of the fringe.

So it appears the gold trim is generally used on ceremonial indoor flags that are used for special services and is believed to have been first used in a military setting. It has no specific significance and its use, from what I understand, is in compliance with applicable flag codes and laws. To conclude, gold fringe is used on the flag as an honorable enrichment only. It is not regarded as an integral part of the flag and its use does not constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statutes.

Pastor David Whitney
Pastor David Whitney

Rev. David Whitney has been teaching the Christian heritage and history of our country with Institute on the Constitution for over a decade where he serves as Senior Instructor.

David is an Honors Scholar graduate from Rutgers University with a Masters Degree from Denver Seminary. A minister for 32 years, he is currently the Pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church of Pasadena, Maryland.

As an member of Clergy, Activist and Radio personality David has appeared in Washington Times, on Voice of America, Fox, ABC, NBC, CSPAN, BBC, and more…