FOP Radiator Badge

It has been awhile since I’ve posted anything because we’ve been distracted by the week-long craziness known as Nebraska’s Junk Jaunt. The Junk Jaunt is a trail of approximately 500 miles, filled with hundreds of garage sales and antiques vendors, that winds along the Loup River and through the scenic Sandhills. People come from all over to treasure hunt, alone or in packs, and the whole thing has a fun, festive atmosphere.

The selection did not disappoint this year. My daughter is a World War II buff, and she was understandably thrilled to find an Air Force foot locker from that era with a leather flight suit still in it. My favorite automobile-related find was probably this item:

This is a radiator badge and, as you can see, it reads, “Associate Member Fraternal Order of Police”. It is no surprise that it has some damage. It would have been wired to the front end of an automobile where it would have faced considerable wear and tear, and it is old. No older than 1915, however, because that is when the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) formed after founders witnessed how firefighters bettered their working conditions by negotiating as a group.

I like the symbolism of the FOP’s star emblem. It is hard to make out on my badge, but the symbols on the two legs of the star are an open eye on the left and clasped hands on the right. According to the FOP website, “The open eye is the eye of vigilance ever looking for danger and protecting all those under its care while they sleep or while awake. The clasped hands denote friendship. The hand of friendship is always extended to those in need of our comfort.” The blue field represents the thin blue line protecting those served by law enforcement, and the motto in the center of the star reads “Jus, Fidus, Libertatum”. This Latin phrase translates to “Law is a Safeguard of Freedom”.

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