Yellow ribbons being tied across the area

By Ed Brock

Sandy Brack didn't even know Friday was Yellow Ribbon Day.

She just joined her co-worker and friend, Clayton County Commercial Planner Beverly Ramsey, and about 30 other county employees to decorate a tree with yellow ribbons and red, white and blue ribbons to show support for the troops.

"(Ramsey) is the one who put it all together," Brack said. "She has a husband who served in Vietnam and a daughter who's joining the Marine Corps, so she is just so motivated to do this. And my husband served 23 years as a Marine so you know I'm there."

On Friday, the same day Ramsey, Brack and the others putting up their 50 to 75 ribbons, Gov. Sonny Perdue declared the day Yellow Ribbon Day in Georgia at a speech at the Capitol in Atlanta. The families of Georgia soldiers who have died in the war in Iraq joined him for the proclamation.

"The Yellow Ribbon symbolizes the hopes and prayers of those left behind for the safe return of our troops in harm's way. It represents the steadfast devotion and unwavering support of those on the home front for our loved ones who are fighting for us in freedom's cause," Perdue said. "Today, we will tie yellow ribbons around the trees on the Capitol grounds and we will ask all Georgians to join us by displaying and wearing yellow ribbons."

The tradition of tying a yellow ribbon around an old oak tree, made famous by the 1973 Tony Orlando and Dawn song of the same name, is believed to be connected a Civil War prisoner of war returning from the infamous Andersonville Prison. The soldier writes to his true love and asks her to leave the ribbon as a sign that she still loves him and he should come home.

Regardless of the origin of the tradition it has been reborn in force since the invasion of Iraq began.

"We can't get enough," said John Rivers, manager of the Michael's craft store in Morrow. "People are putting them on their houses, their cars, all kinds of different things. Some of the schools are coming by for them, too. They're doing displays in support of the troops."

The store has been selling ribbons as large as 3 inches wide, tied on request.

"A lot of people come in with an idea of what they want," Rivers said.