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What Do The Thin Line Flags Stand For? A Quick Guide

What Do The Thin Line Flags Stand For? A Quick Guide

You may have seen thin line flags flying around town, in the news, or on social media. Usually incorporating a thin colored line across a black and white striped American flag, these designs have become a popular symbol of solidarity among the law enforcement community and other public service branches. But where did the idea originate and what do all the thin line flags of various colors stand for? Read on to learn more!

Origins

Thin line flags come from a long history of using thin black and white stripes in various contexts. The black and white American flag was created during the American Civil War in 1861 as an opposing symbol to the white ‘surrender’ flag. The new black and white flags were flown by soldiers in the Confederate army to signify their determination not to give in or surrender to the Union.

The Thin Blue Line

The ‘thin blue line’ flag was the original thin line flag and represents the thin line that stands between order and chaos and the line of safety provided by the police force in society. It has long been seen as a show of police pride and solidarity. In terms of its origins, the term ‘the thin blue line’ is most associated with ‘the thin red line’; a British term coined during the Crimean war in 1854, which referred to the thinly spread military unit holding back the enemy forces. Today, thin blue line flags are flown at events and public demonstrations in support of police officers, as well as by members of the law enforcement community themselves - the blue line representing the color of their uniform. Fallen officers may also be honored with thin blue line flags.

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Other Thin Line Flags - Colors and Meanings

In addition to the thin blue line flag, there are now many other thin line flags of varying colors used by different public service branches and organizations. They can be seen in schools, government buildings, and other public institutions, symbolizing the strength and support of those who work in service to others.

Here are some of the most commonly seen today and what they stand for:

Thin Red Line

We’ve already mentioned the phrase ‘the thin red line’ and its origins dating back to the battle of Balaclava during the 1854 Crimean War. The color red was a reference to the uniform on both sides of the battle. The Thin Red Line Flag is now used to represent Firefighters and their courage with the color red chosen for its association with fire. Similar to the police, the flag is used both to show support for firefighters still living and serving, and to remember those lost in the line of duty.

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Thin Green Line

The Thin Green Line is most associated with those in the military but is also used to represent all Federal Agents including those in the protector sector such as Border Patrol, Wildlife Protection Officers, Fish & Game Wardens, Park Rangers, and Animal Control. Green was chosen due to it being the color of many Federal Agent uniforms. The thin green line is also seen frequently at protests in support of environmental causes.

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Thin White Line

The thin white line represents EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) and Paramedics. It is also used by support staff such as Dispatchers, and other healthcare professionals such as Doctors and Nurses to signal support for those who work tirelessly to save lives every day. White was chosen because of its association with hospital staff uniforms, the purity, and cleanliness of the profession, as well as its symbolism of peace and safety.

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Thin Orange Line

The thin orange line is a symbol that has come to represent the brave men and women involved in Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts. Orange chosen to reflect their bright and highly visible uniforms, the flag encompasses both Federal and State Search and Rescue Teams.

The thin orange line flag can be seen at SAR events around the country and is a powerful symbol of the incredible courage, dedication, and selflessness shown by these brave individuals every day.

Thin Yellow Line

Sometimes confused with the Thin Gold Line, the Thin Yellow Line has come to denote support of Security Guards and Tow Truck Drivers - often flown in remembrance of a fallen security guard or tow truck driver who has lost their life on the job.

Thin Gold Line

The Thin Gold Line has been adopted more recently to show support for Emergency Dispatchers. They don’t always receive the recognition or visibility that other first responders do, but their work is no less critical and this flag has served to assist EMS dispatchers and their indispensable contributions to the public good being more widely seen and appreciated. The gold line symbolizes loyalty and strength.

Thin Gray / Silver Line

A newer thin line design and one that is growing in popularity is the Thin Silver (or Gray) Line now used to represent Corrections Officers. Gray was chosen as the color of handcuffs and or jail cell bars. The flag encompasses the many agents within the justice system, such as Parole Officers, Jailers, and Bailiffs, who work in service of the community yet often go unnoticed.

Conclusion

As thin line flags continue to grow in popularity, they have come to represent more than just a symbol of pride and solidarity for those who work in public service. Rather, they serve as a reminder that behind each flag is the courage, sacrifice, and dedication of individuals who are willing to put themselves in danger to help others.

So, if you want a promotional item that supports our public servants and shows your appreciation for their work, be sure to check out the range of thin line flag koozies and can coolers we have available. With their vibrant colors and bold designs, they are sure to help you show your support for the thin line heroes in our communities!

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