Yellow ribbon

A yellow ribbon is a symbol with various meanings, mostly associated with those waiting for the return of a loved one or of military troops who are temporarily unable to come home. It is also sometimes used at county and state fairs in the United States, where it indicates a fourth-place finish in a contest. Recently, it has been used to symbolize support for the [http://www.yellowribbon.org/ International Suicide Prevention Program] and to raise awareness against Testicular Cancer and for Madeleine McCann. It also symbolizes awareness for those women and girls that suffer from the disease of Endometriosis, a painful debilitating disease that has yet to find a cure.

"She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"

Yellow is the official color of the cavalry branch of the U.S. Army, used in insignia, etc., and depicted in Hollywood movies by the yellow neck handkerchiefs adorning latter-half 19th century, horse-mounted U.S. Cavalry soldiers. However, a review of the U.S. War Department's "Regulations for the Uniform and Dress of the Army of the United States" (1872, 1898) reveals that a neck handkerchief, of any color, was not an item required by dress code. Despite this, neck handkerchiefs were a popular accessory employed by cavalrymen to cope with the frequently dusty environs. The specific association of the yellow neck handkerchief with the U.S. Cavalry may have arisen from a work of popular American West artist Frederic Remington--"Lieutenant Powhatan H. Clarke, Tenth Cavalry" (1888). In the United States military, the symbol of the yellow ribbon is used in a popular marching song. The first version copyrighted was the 1917 version by George A. Norton, which he titled "'Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon (For Her Lover Who Is Fur, Fur Away)". While he tells in the song about the love between Susie Simpkins and her soldier lover Silas Hubbard, his chorus goes:

'Round her neck she wears a yeller ribbon,
She wears it in 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.

The lyrics were altered and the song was titled "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" by Russ Morgan for the 1949 movie of the same name. This was performed by several popular musicians of the 1940s, including Mitch Miller and The Andrews Sisters. The text of the Army version approximates the following, with local variations:

Around her hair she wore a yellow ribbon
She wore it in the springtime
In the merry month of May
And if you ask her why the heck she wore it
She wore it for her soldier who was far far away

Far away, far away
She wore it for her soldier
Who was far, far away

Around the block she pushed a baby carriage
She pushed it in the springtime
In the Merry month of May
And if you ask her why the heck she pushed it
She pushed it for her soldier who was far far away

Far away, far away
She pushed it for her soldier
Who was far, far away

Behind the door her daddy kept a shotgun
He kept it in the springtime
In the merry month of May
And if you ask him why the heck he kept it
He kept it for her soldier who was far far away

Far away, far away
He kept it for her soldier
Who was far, far away

On the grave she laid the pretty flowers
She laid them in the springtime
In the merry month of May
And if you asked her why the heck she laid them
She laid them for her soldier who was far far away

Far away, far away
He kept it for her soldier
Who was far, far away

"Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree"

The symbol became widely known in civilian life in the 1970s. It was the central theme of the popular song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree", Written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown and recorded by Tony Orlando and Dawn among many others, as the sign a released convict requested from his wife or lover, to indicate that she still wanted him and that he would therefore be welcome to return home. He would be able to see it from the bus driving by their house, and would stay on the bus in the absence of the ribbon. He turned out to be very welcome: there were a hundred yellow ribbons.

From the Library of Congress:

:In October of 1971, newspaper columnist Pete Hamill wrote a piece for the "New York Post" called "Going Home." In it, college students on a bus trip to the beaches of Fort Lauderdale make friends with an ex-convict who is watching for a yellow handkerchief on a roadside oak. Hamill claimed to have heard this story in oral tradition.

:In June of 1972, nine months later, "Reader's Digest" reprinted "Going Home." Also in June 1972, ABC-TV aired a dramatized version of it in which James Earl Jones played the role of the returning ex-con. A month-and-a-half after that, Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown registered for copyright a song they called "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree." The authors said they heard the story while serving in the military. Pete Hamill was not convinced and filed suit for infringement.

:One factor that may have influenced Hamill's decision to do so was that, in May 1973, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" sold 3 million records in three weeks. When the dust settled, BMI calculated that radio stations had played it 3 million times--that's seventeen continuous years of airplay. Hamill dropped his suit after folklorists working for Levine and Brown turned up archival versions of the story that had been collected before "Going Home" had been written. [http://www.loc.gov/folklife/ribbons/ribbons.html]

Middle East conflicts

During the Iran hostage crisis, the yellow ribbon was used a symbol of support for the hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. This symbolism began in December 1979, when Penelope Laingen, wife of the most senior foreign service officer being held hostage, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree on the lawn of her Maryland home. The ribbon primarily symbolized the resolve of the American people to win the hostages' safe release, and it featured prominently in the celebrations of their return home in January 1981.

The yellow ribbon saw renewed popularity in the United States during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. It appeared along with the slogan "support our troops", in the form of yellow ribbons tied to trees, and countless other contexts. It often had the implied meaning of supporting the Desert Shield and Desert Storm troop deployments themselves and/or loyalty to President George Bush, and therefore became somewhat politicized. It appeared again during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq with similar meanings, most prominently in the form of a yellow ribbon printed on magnetized material and displayed on the outside of automobiles.

In the beginning of August 2008, civilian cars in the northern province of Israel, (The Galil), gradually appeared to have yellow ribbons tied to their left side mirrors. These yellow ribbons were being tied as a symbol to the hope and enthusiasm of the Israelis to free the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit being held imprisoned in Gaza strip by Hamas. Gilad Shalit was born and raised in a small village (Mizpe Hilla) in the upper Galil. Although starting in the north, this hope was uniting all the Israelis.Fact|date=October 2008

Early Puritan history

The song/poem "She wore a yellow ribbon" has appeared in various forms for at least four centuries. It is based upon the same general theme. A woman of destiny is under some sort of test or trial as she waits for her beloved to return. Will she be true to him? This seems to be the lingering question and the basis for a great unfolding drama.

The song appears to have been brought to America from Europe by English settlers. The origin of the yellow ribbons seems likely to have come from out of the Puritan heritage. It was during the English Civil War that the Puritan Army of English Parliament wore yellow ribbons and yellow sashes onto the battlefield.

Use in Singapore

In Singapore, the government has initiated an annual Yellow Ribbon campaign to promote giving ex-convicts a second chance in society. Typically, a person shows his support for ex-convicts by pinning a yellow ribbon on his shirt during the annual campaign. This was probably influenced by its use as a symbol of acceptance in the song "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" as stated above.

Use in Malaysia

In Malaysia, this yellow ribbon is used as a symbol of "Press Freedom"

Use in Australia

In Australia, the Save Albert Park group have utilized the yellow ribbon as a symbol of protest. The group is a coalition protesting the reclamation of public space in Albert Park, Melbourne for the annual Australian Grand Prix. When the race moved to Melbourne in 1996, yellow ribbons were tied around the trees in the park which were designated for removal. Although the group were unsuccessful in protecting the designated trees, they and their supporters still tie ribbons around the trees each year at the time of the race.

Use in Japan

Japan's Medal of Honor uses a yellow ribbon to acknowledge professionals who have become public role models.

ee also

*Activism
*List of U.S. Army acronyms and expressions
*Symbolism of yellow
*Operation Yellow Ribbon
*Red Friday

References

External links

* [http://www.yellowribbon.org.uk Yellow Ribbon Foundation]

External links

* [http://www.loc.gov/folklife/ribbons/ribbons.html How the Yellow Ribbon Became a National Folk Symbol] from the Library of Congress American Folklife Center
* [http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_008.html Straight Dope - Why Do We Put Up Yellow Ribbons?]


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