Thin Red Line Flags for Firefighters: Origins & Meaning
The Thin Red Line Flag is a black-and-white American flag with a red stripe in the center that represents support and solidarity for fire department personnel. Displayed by fire departments and civilians alike, the Thin Red Line Flag is a symbol of respect for fallen firefighters, as well as those injured in the line of duty. These flags are commonly flown in front of homes of firefighters and their families, as well as inside or outside fire departments.
History of the Thin Red Line
The phrase “thin red line” dates back to 1854, when a small British military unit, known as the 93rd Highland Regiment, found themselves as the last line of defense in the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. The regiment, widely publicized in the press and depicted by artists as a thin line of soldiers dressed in red coats, came to be known as the “thin red line” of military defense.
Over time, the phrase “thin red line” morphed into a figure of speech, referring to any thinly spread unit holding firm against an attack, and it was later adopted and altered by law enforcement. Becoming the “thin blue line”, it referred to the police officers’ predominantly blue uniforms and the line they maintained between good and evil. The phrase was used by New York Police Commissioner Richard Enright in 1922, and later popularized by Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Parker in the 1950s. It also appeared in police novels written by author and police officer Joseph Wambaugh in the 1970s and 80s.
In response to law enforcement’s thin blue line, the Apex Volunteer Fire Department in Apex NC developed the thin red line tag for firefighters in 1999.
Origins of the Thin Red Line Flag
The original Thin Red Line Flag from 1999 was all-black with a red line through the center. The Thin Red Line Flag we know today came later, following the creation of the current Thin Blue Line Flag. It was designed in 2014 by Andrew Jacob, a college student from the suburbs of Detroit, as a show of support for law enforcement. Derivatives of the design include the Thin Red Line Flag for firefighters and the Thin Red & Blue Line Flag for all first responders.
About Our Thin Red Line Flags for Firefighters
Our embroidered Thin Red Line Flags are made in the USA of durable all-weather nylon with embroidered stars and sewn stripes. These high-quality Thin Red Line Flags also include four rows of reinforced stitching for added durability, and a header & brass grommet attachment. We also carry Printed Nylon Thin Red Line Flags and Thin Red Line Flag Lapel Pins.For questions about any of our Thin Red Line Flag products, or to place an order by phone, give us a call at 1-888-697-3524.
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