by Sandra Allen Lovelace @SandraALovelace #WallflowerWomen
One of the suggestions in the first Year of The Blue article was for readers to offer thanks to a member of law enforcement with a handshake. A few let us know they’ve been showing their appreciation in similar ways. This time around let’s take a look at a common phrase heard in conversations about The Blue.
The original phrase was the Thin Red Line, a formation of British foot soldiers that held their ground against a Russian cavalry charge. In this 1854 confrontation, a famous battle in the Crimean War, the thin red line drove the land-grabbing Russians to retreat. Their attempt to exert their power in the Holy Land ended with the March 1856 Treaty of Paris. But the cost was high.
Tactical and medical mismanagement and failures in every aspect of the military engagement promoted not only untold butchery of citizens but brutal conditions for troops on every side. The invasion was put down, but the widespread disorganization and lawlessness across the region opened the door to anarchy. Governments were forced to face their role in the debacle.
N.D. Anderson substituted the color blue in a 1911 poem, The Thin Blue Line. Anderson expressed grief over Civil War soldiers who followed orders to their death. Blue was the color of Union uniforms but men on both sides fought and died with the hope to restore order. The term for the fragile, thin blue line between freedom and hostility, life and death was born.
1950s – TV series based on the LAPD, The Thin Blue Line.
1965 – Massachusetts published a brochure about its police, The Thin Blue Line.
1970s – Police departments across the USA use the term thin blue line.
1988 – Film documentary about Dallas officer killed in the line of duty, The Thin Blue Line.
Some say the thin blue line is the police presence that maintains the boundary between community and criminals, peace and violence, law and anarchy, order and chaos. Others call the symbol divisive on several levels. At ‘Year of the Blue’ the common meaning of thin blue line applies. We will honor those who give their lives while wearing the blue of law enforcement.
In that spirit, we offer our heartfelt prayers for those who love and grieve for Deputy Zachari Parrish, killed in the line of duty December 31, 2017. Please feel free to post similar reports and responses.
Have you shaken a hand to thank someone for wearing The Blue?
If not, give it a try and let us know how it goes.
Stepping out with expectancy,