History of the Thin Blue Line American Flag

Posted by Printed Kicks Team on

History of the Thin Blue Line American Flag

The first use of the thin blue line can be traced to the United Kingdom, when it was used as a supporting symbol for their country’s law enforcement. However, the flag has grown in popularity immensely in the United States recently. With many of the events in the past year that have taken place in our country, there has been a cloud of controversy shrouding the image as of late. The flag is currently recognized as the most widely used advocating symbol for police officers in the country. 

The flag displays a solid black background with an American flag and a thin blue line running across it. This thin blue line acts as a visual representation for all the law enforcement officers in our country. Though this version of the flag is the most common, there are several different variations of it, even in different colors like red. The flag has grown in notoriety since it was adopted by the police advocacy group, Thin Blue Line USA. 

In 2014, their president, a white college student named Andrew Jacob was moved the amount of respect and disregard he had seen for the police. Jacob was also motivated to support the police after attending a memorial service in West Bloomfield, Michigan, for a police officer who had lost his life on the job. Inspired and wanting to create a universal symbol of appreciation for our nation’s law enforcement, Jacob started Thin Blue Line USA and began using the flag as its official symbol. 

Jacob had seen the image of the flag previously on patches and stickers. However, he had never seen the symbol displayed on a real, physical flag. His company made it a goal of theirs to make the flag as widespread as they could, selling it on t-shirts, neckwear, jewelry, and more. 

“The flag has no association with racism, hatred, bigotry,” he said. “It’s a flag to show support for law enforcement—no politics involved,” says Jacob. 

With the increasing amount of hostility toward our officers today, it is more crucial than ever to preserve this historic symbol and endorse the police proudly. Fortunately, a multitude of companies like Printed Kicks are also helping to keep the tradition alive, offering a plethora of clothing and accessories displaying the thin blue line flag. The brave men and women that put their lives on the line every day to protect us deserve our loyalty. 

The Meaning Behind It

What’s the significance behind the thin blue line, though? The image was first taken from the Crimean War in the 19th century, when “a thin red line” of British troops (called “redcoats”) held off a Russian cavalry charge. 

Americans created their own rendition of the symbol in the early 1900s when The U.S. Army marched into battle in their blue uniforms and formed a thin line of soldiers. This image was mentioned in a 1911 poem by Nels Dickmann Anderson, cementing the symbol into history. Later, in the 1950s, the thin blue line started to be used by U.S. law enforcement as a logo for their organization. 

Though it has been misrepresented at times, the thin blue line flag still serves an honorable purpose: showing solidarity for police officers. It acts as a reminder of encouragement and thankfulness for the ones who keep society safe. Alternatively, the symbol is also used as a sign of respect to all of our lost veterans who have so courageously dedicated their lives to this country. 

Where Can You Find It?

The thin blue line flag is typically displayed by itself or alongside the classic American flag. It can be seen on car bumpers, pins, buttons, mugs, and, more recently, COVID-19 masks. The flag is commonly displayed at political events as well. 

The design has even been used as branding for products. Nowadays, you find the design on t-shirts, hats, tumblers, and practically any kind of clothing or accessories. More and more, people are growing in their desire to honor the police and show their gratitude for the boys in blue. 

Who Can Use It?

The thin blue line flag is not just a symbol used by law enforcement and police. It is a representation of justice and freedom. Although it is used most frequently by police and family members and friends of police, anybody who is a supporter can wear the flag. 

In fact, citizens wearing the flag are an important step in getting it the recognition it deserves. More than ever, officers are in need of support from the public. There is an unusually high amount of pressure on their shoulders, and sadly, they are being discriminated against every day; simply for coming into work and putting on their uniform. For that reason, anybody who feels inclined to wear the flag should do so—proudly!

We offer unisex and kids options so the entire family can represent the flag! Check out this beautiful pair of Thin Blue Line Premium Mesh Sneakers, which display the thin blue line flag across the toe box of the shoe and big, white stars scattered across the back of it. The shoes are available in sizes 5 to 14 for men, 5 to 12 for women, and 11 child to 3 youth for kids. 

Where To Buy One?

Nowadays, you can find a variety of thin blue line flags and other merchandise available online. You can also find thin blue flag products in gift shops, conservative clothing stores, and some hunting and fishing stores. Many of the officially licensed items worn by police officers and firefighters are unavailable to the public, however. 

For a wide selection of items, consider visiting Printed Kicks; we are an American apparel brand that specializes in products related to Christianity, Republicanism, and hunting and fishing. 

If you’re looking for a stylish, sleek way of showing off the flag, check out our Thin Blue Line Flag t-shirt. It comes in colors of black, navy, royal blue, and grey, and is available in sizes of small to 4XL. They are made from 100% cotton and can even be ordered in the form of a long-sleeve or hoodie. 


While supporters of the police have embraced the image as a symbol of respect, some have condemned the thin blue line flag as a banner of bigotry and racism. This perception has been exacerbated by the flag being used by radical, conservative groups. 

"We reject, in the strongest possible terms, any association of our flag with racism, hatred, and bigotry," said Thin Blue Line USA. "To use it in such a way tarnishes what it and our nation believe in. The thin blue line flag stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers of this nation make each day. We ask our nation to hold faith with those that defend the thin blue line." 

Contrary to popular belief, the thin blue line flag actually was made with the purpose of trying to improve the relationship between the people and the police. Pete Forhan, the company’s vice president, says, "We want to get rid of that rivalry between law enforcement and citizens."


The mission of the thin blue line remains clear: protect and preserve the honor of our nation’s law enforcement. Similarly to how the American flag is used to pay homage to our ancestors and their fight for freedom, the thin blue line flag represents the immense dedication that our police officers give to keep us safe. It is a pivotal part of our country’s history, and more importantly, our law enforcement’s. 

Next time you see the symbol, take a moment to give thanks to our beloved boys in blue. With how much time and effort they put in for the sake of their fellow countrymen, they deserve all the blessings in the world. In a time when the world is hurting both physically, mentally, and financially, these heroic men and women have spent time away from their families in order to protect ours. 

We can only hope that they begin to receive their just due as our country moves forward. The blue thin line flag is a representation of America to its core; we can only go as far as the people that protect us allow us to. 



The Short, Fraught History of the 'Thin Blue Line' American Flag | www.themarshallproject.org

Redcoats land at Long Island | HISTORY

The voice of the Infinite, and other poems : Anderson, Nels | archive.org 

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