morning, while out in the car, I noticed that there seems to be
a new "Baby on Board"-type craze. The new fad is the magnetic
stick-on ribbon of various types. The proliferation of this new
phenomenon is interesting to observe. One of the stick- ons I saw
was yellow, one was white, one was red-white and blue, and another
was red. What is going on here?
Once upon a
time, so the story goes, a prisoner was released from the penitentiary
and was on his way home on the train. Supposedly, if the people
welcomed him back, they would put white ribbons on a tree beside
the track. If there were no ribbons, he should keep going. Luckily
for him, the tree was covered with white ribbons.
In the 70's
John Wayne starred in a movie in which a non-political message was
conveyed by a yellow ribbon tied with a bow around an oak tree to
welcome home a weary warrior. There was even a song about it.
Iranian Hostage crisis when the Iranian Revolutionaries were demanding
the return of the deposed Shah who was being sheltered by the U.S.,
the yellow ribbon became the symbol for "release the hostages."
The AFL-CIO got that started by printing up and distributing thousands
of yellow ribbon buttons. Yellow ribbons have evolved from the loop
around a tree to the ubiquitous single fold-over magnetic signs
serving as talismans, personal statements, memorials, or calls to
I did a little
research on the Internet and found out that the yellow ribbon today
means "support our troops." Pretty simple, right? Unfortunately,
that saying means different things to different people. To some,
it means "We love our friends and family members with the military
over in Iraq and hope they come home safely and soon." To others
it means "Pray for our soldiers in Iraq," especially if
the ribbon is in a horizontal mode (looking like a fish) signifying
that your prayers should be directed to the Christian God, not the
"fake god" of the Muslims. The most political interpretation
follows an interesting line of thought: "Support our troops"
means "Don't question the war...support and obey George Bush."
Yellow ribbons also stand for spina bifida awareness, international
suicide prevention, childhood cancer awareness, and free Terry Martini.
To help eliminate
some of the confusion over what a given ribbon means, small print
is now being added on the ribbon...the result of which are more
rear-end collisions as people drive up close so they can read it.
One slogan on a ribbon I saw today was "Freedom is Not Free,"
which might mean "War is the price of freedom...war requires
us to sacrifice our freedom such as the freedom to criticise the
war... therefore, you must sacrifice your freedom to be free."
I suppose it could also be a message to our grandchildren, who are
going to have to pay for the war. Another was "God Bless America,"
which might mean we are asking God to take sides in this conflict.
Well, it works in football games. Maybe each ribbon should be accompanied
by an easy-to-read bumper sticker under it telling us what we are
supposed to make of it? To add to the ribbon confusion, a dark blue
ribbon means"Defend the Constitution." A white ribbon
means peace, welcome home to an ex-con, or stop violence against
women. A pink ribbon stands for breast cancer awareness or a few
The red ribbon
is the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness, staying drug
and alcohol free, or multiple myeloma awareness. A purple ribbon
can mean you are for stopping animal abuse, remembering 9-11, or
promoting pancreatic cancer awareness. A green ribbon might mean
you are an Irish Republican, being anti-scapegoating of Middle Eastern
people in the U.S. or are for legalizing hemp production. Orange
means you support Protestant Northern Ireland, are for honest and
free elections, or are anti-terrorist.
are multi-colored. Black and red means, "No Blood for Oil,"
a rainbow ribbon stands for supporting diversity, blue and silver
means "Stop Partial-birth Abortions," while blue and white
means "Rescue American jobs," while red, white and blue
means whatever you think America means.
If you have
a cause and aren't sure if there is a ribbon for it, look surf up
"Ribbon Campaigns" on the Net. If there can be one for"
Scotsmen with Aids" (plaid) or "Keep Idiots off the Net"
(chrome) there is probably one ready made for you!
Turning a magnetic
ribbon upside down means that you are against whatever you think
it stands for. (as does ripping it off) I suggest you don't get
caught turning someone's "Stop Hating Leonardo DiCaprio"
ribbon upside-down or trashing someone's purple "Remember 9-11"
ribbon thinking it means "Support Gay Marriage." Better
to just sit back and enjoy the confusion!
Visit us at