Fire personnel to honor local police efforts in ‘Thin Blue Flag’ ceremony
CROMWELL >> United in a common purpose, one group of professionals will salute another group Saturday.
The Cromwell Fire District and Fire Department is recognizing the Cromwell Police Department in a ceremony at fire headquarters at 1 West St. in a ceremony of “honor and appreciation” at 11 a.m.
The ceremony was organized by members of the fire department and the fire district “in consideration of the close working relationship they have with the police department,” Fire Chief Michael R. Terenzio explained.
While it has not been the case in Cromwell, police officers in general “have received so much negative publicity recently,” Terenzio said. In most cases, that negativity is undeserved, the chief added.
So, members of the department and the districts will be expressing their appreciation for their colleagues on the po-
lice force by flying the “Thin Blue Flag,” Terenzio said.
“Cromwell is the community it is because both agencies agree they are better when they support one another,” Terenzio said.
Saturday was chosen because most of the noncareer members can be in attendance, he said.
Police Chief Denise Lamontagne and Capt. Kevin A. VanderSloot have both been invited to attend the ceremony as well as “whoever else that would like to be there,” Terenzio said.
“The fact these two groups of professionals recognize and support each other gives us hope that we can demonstrate to the residents of Cromwell that their first line of defense is united,” Terenzio said.
Lamontagne said she and the officers of the CPD “appreciate the honor that is being bestowed on us by the members of the Cromwell Fire Department.”
“We strive to always work closely with our fellow emergency responders,” Lamontagne said.
There are two versions of the flag: one is a black-andwhite American flag with a horizontal blue line running through it, the other is a black flag with the horizontal blue line running through the center of the flag.
Cromwell is expected to use the American flag version, fire officials said Wednesday.
In either case, “The Thin Blue Line American Flag serves as a testament to the valor of police officers across the country,” as well the thin line that protects society, according to an explanation on the website Thin Blue Line USA.
The idea of the “thin line” traces back to the Crimean War (1853-56), in which Britain, France and Turkey fought the Russian Empire.
In 1854, the Sutherland, or 93rd Highlanders, a regiment of kilted Scottish infantry, their ranks depleted by prior fighting, fought off two attacks by as many as 800 mounted Russian cavalry, according to a recounting of the battle on the Military History website.
As the cavalry thundered down upon the two ranks of Highlanders, their commander, Gen. Sir Colin Campbell, is said to have called out, “There is no retreat from here, men! You must die where you stand.”
“The response from a junior officer was immediate and equally assertive: ‘Aye, aye, Sir Colin, an needs be, we’ll do that,’” according to a history of the battle in Military History Monthly.
The action was acclaimed throughout Britain, and in 1881 was immortalized in a heroic painting by Robert Gibb titled “The Thin Red Line.”
In 1890, Rudyard Kipling paid tribute to the thin red line in his poem “Tommy.”
Since then, the term has come to stand for a small band of determined individuals standing stalwart against overwhelming odds.
Cromwell Fire Chief Michael Terenzio has arranged for a Thin Blue Line Flag ceremony on Saturday, which will honor efforts of local police.