The yellow ribbon is a well-known symbol with a long history. It can be worn as a symbol, displayed on a vehicle, or tied around a tree to represent a variety of meanings and causes.
These days, one of the most common uses of yellow ribbons is for us military moms to show support for our military heroes, who are serving overseas. As a way to express this support, many of our customers display yellow ribbon stickers on their cars to demonstrate their support for the troops.
Anyone who “Supports Our Troops” can display a yellow ribbon
During the Gulf War, when the U.S. deployed a large number of military troops abroad, yellow ribbons became more visible throughout the nation as a way to show support for them.
The yellow ribbon was a significant symbol representing the bond between loved ones, and was often worn or displayed by women as a way to remember and honor the men in their lives who were serving overseas.
History of the Yellow Ribbon
The use of yellow ribbons as a display of support and solidarity dates back hundreds of years, long before the Gulf War.
Yellow Ribbon Songs
The song "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" has a long history dating back to the 17th century. It was revised by George A. Norton in 1917 and again by Leroy Parker and M. Ottner in 1949. Many other musicians have also recorded versions of the song over the years.
The lyrics of the original song tell the story of a woman who is thinking about her lover who has gone off to war. She thinks about him every day and a verse in the song repeats the line:
- “Round her neck she wears a yeller ribbon. She wears it in the Winter and the Summer so they say If you ask her, “Why the decoration?” She’ll say, “It’s fur my lover who is fur, fur away”
You might also be familiar with the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" which was written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown in the 1970s. This song gained popularity during the end of the Vietnam War as many troops were returning home.
According to L. Russell Brown, the inspiration for the song came from an old folk tale about a Union prisoner of war who wrote to his girlfriend that he was coming home from a Confederate POW camp in Georgia.
Iran Hostage Crisis and Yellow Ribbons
The Iran hostage crisis in the 1980s prompted Suzan E. Garret of the Jaycees ladies service to start a campaign in support of the American hostages by encouraging people to tie yellow ribbons around trees in public places. Penelope Laingen, the wife of one of the hostages, Bruce Laingen, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of her home as a symbol of support for the hostages and to celebrate their safe return home when they were released in 1981
The Gulf War and Yellow Ribbons
In the 1990s, yellow ribbons reappeared during the Gulf War with the phrase "Support Our Troops" written on them.
These yellow ribbons continued to be used as a symbol of support during the 2003 Iraq invasion and the deployment of troops to Afghanistan and other countries
Yellow ribbons remain a symbol of support for military troops today. They can be displayed by those waiting for a loved one to return from military service (eg. military families) or by anyone who wants to show their support for the troops.