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01 Apr '24

Mourning Bands History & Innovations

The tradition of wearing mourning bands, believed to have originated centuries ago, is deeply rooted in our history. It was customary for men to don black armbands as a sign of mourning. This practice may have influenced the early tradition of police and other first responders shrouding their badges, a powerful symbol of respect and grief when a colleague passes away.

As a first responder, you might find yourself reaching for a roll of black electrical tape to cover your badge. This simple act, shared among officers, holds immense power. It’s a private moment of reflection on the loss and sacrifice of the fallen officer, acknowledging your own vulnerability and risk, yet also affirming your commitment to continue serving.

For a generation, the black electrical tape served as the standard mourning band. However, it often left permanent damage on the badges.

The first major innovation came in the form of sewn black elastic mourning bands, fashioned from the piping used for the seams of uniform pants. This remains the standard to this day.

Further innovations introduced the Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line to the elastic bands, followed by the Thin Green Line and other colors.

The advent of Awareness Bands marked another significant development. Unique Specialties Online introduced a pink elastic band, rallying public safety personnel in the fight against breast cancer. These bands, initially created to raise awareness, also became symbols of mourning for those lost to the disease.

Companies like Blackinton introduced black metal mourning bars for shoulder patches, and Badgeart and others created arm bands in black, red, and blue for non-uniformed and civilian public safety workers.

Badgeart developed a line of mourning bars with military clutch and pin or heavy-duty magnetic attachments in black, Thin Blue Line, and Thin Red Line styles. These were designed to adapt to the evolution of badges from metal clasp and pin to embroidered and Flexbadge styles. Interestingly, this evolution saw some revert back to the electrical tape mourning band.

Badgeart also introduced stock imprints of awareness bands, including bands for K-9 units and Suicide Prevention / Mental Health Awareness featuring the semicolon symbol, in association with Project Semicolon, a grassroots mental health organization.

In the fight to end gun violence, Badgeart manufactured a Thin Orange Line band and bars. Public safety personnel are often at the forefront of dealing with the effects of gun violence, making them a target of violence, first responders to traumatic incidents, and tragically, sometimes victims of suicide.

The Thin Orange Line bands also serve the often overlooked first responder community of Search and Rescue (SAR) as a mourning band. The Black-Orange-Black bands, along with clutch & pin and magnet bars, offer a complete line of mourning options for these invaluable professionals. This is a testament to the evolving and enduring significance of mourning bands in our society.

Badgeart has introduced a new line of welded mourning bands. This innovation allows you to create truly customized bands, tailored to your specific needs. The welding process produces an almost flat loop, enabling the sizing of badges and pins down to ½” wide.

More importantly, these welded bands can be used with Velcro look & loop FlexBadge badges and insignia, wallet badges, and other applications where a sewn band may not be practical. This innovation opens up the possibility for the entire badge-wearing community to don a fitted mourning band. Badgeart even offers new 1⁄4'' custom-sized bands.

Taking customization a step further, Badgeart offers custom imprints in a variety of colors, fitting bands from ⅜” to 1” wide. With a minimum order of just 10 imprints and a one-day turnaround, you can have your personalized mourning bands swiftly.

In time for January’s Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month, Badgeart has created a Firefighter Cancer Awareness / Mourning Band. These black bands feature an imprinted lavender awareness ribbon and are offered in four sizes: ⅜”, ½”, ¾”, and 1”.

Badgeart’s welded bands offer exciting possibilities, with sizing options ranging from 1/2" to several inches wide.

You can explore the entire line of Badgeart mourning bands at their website.

For any queries or further information, you can reach out to George Brown at Badgeart. His contact details are as follows:

George Brown, Badgeart PO Box 2623, Attleboro Falls, MA 02763 Phone: 774-406-5633 Email: policevet@policevet.com