Although the Thin Blue Line is the most well known, many other professions that serve the public selfishly are honored symbolically with their version of a 'Thin Line'. Here we detail the story behind each, and the profound meaning of them all.
The Thin Blue Line started it all, as a symbol and phrase used by law enforcement. It represents law enforcement's role in society, and how it acts as a defensive wall between order and chaos. The black bars pay reverence to the policemen who have died in the line of duty. The 'thin' relays the fact that so few protect so many, and as a reminder how precarious the difference between mayhem and peace can be.
It is unknown when the term was first used to refer to police. However, its use became quite widespread after the release of the 1988 documentary film, titled 'The Thin Blue Line', which detailed the murder of Robert W Wood, a Dallas Police officer.
Although most Americans became aware of the phrase 'Thin Blue Line' first, many believe this term was originally an inference to the previously well known Thin Red Line, which was a military action by the British 93rd regiment during the Crimean War of 1854. The British traditionally lined their soldiers in a line four deep, but in this particular battle their resources were so depleted they could only manage a line of two deep. Hence the 'thin' red (coats) line.
"Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? / But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes' when the drums begin to roll," Rudyard Kipling
Today however, the phrase has been adopted by our country's firefighters. “Thin Red Line” is a symbol to show reverence to all the firefighters killed or injured in the line of duty.
The Thin Green Line pays homage to Federal Agents including Park Rangers, Border Patrol, Game Wardens, & Conservation Personnel.
An Australian Park Ranger, Sean Willmore created a documentary named 'Thin Green Line'. He interviewed rangers from around the world, documenting some of their extreme challenges and dangerous encounters while protecting wildlife and the public.
A foundation was also setup with the same name, with the purpose of helping families of rangers who have lost their lives, or been tragically injured.
In most emergencies, search & rescue personnel are first responders, and the last to leave. The Thin Orange Line is symbolic of these sacrifices given by Search & Rescue and EMS.
The Thin Yellow Line represents Security Guards, and their dedication and commitment to the public's safety and well being.