Where the yellow ribbons at. #RememberML@40

Day 53 –> 20 Me!

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“Oh tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree. If you still want me, do you still love me?”

or so the song goes.

The yellow ribbon symbol goes way back — according to the ever reliable internet, to the year of Nero, a roman emperor.

It is said that it means “Welcome Home” and “You’re forgiven”

There are many songs related to this yellow ribbon. But the first one came out as a US Army march song in 1917 — version by George A. Norton, which he titled ‘Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon (For Her Lover Who Is Far, Far 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 SistersThe Tanner Sisters recorded their version in London on December 30, 1949. It was released by EMI on the His Master’s Voice label as catalog number B 9873.

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
She laid them for her soldier
Who was far, far away

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 Old 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 would welcome him 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 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 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

Relatively, in the Philippines, the yellow ribbon first gained prominence in the 1980s during the Martial Law era as a symbol of opposition SenatorBenigno Aquino, Jr. Inspired by the song, supporters tied yellow ribbons along the streets of Metro Manila to welcome him from his self-exile in the United States. Aquino never saw them as he was assassinated on 21 August 1983 while disembarking at the Manila International Airport. His death led to a series of events that culminated in the 1986 People Power Revolution that overthrew PresidentFerdinand Marcos. The colour yellow was symbolic of the anti-Marcos movement, and eventually became associated with the new President, Aquino’s widow Corazón.

The yellow ribbon regained popularity in 2009 as a show of support for an ailing Corazón Aquino. After her death on 1 August, people wore yellow shirts, tied yellow ribbons along the street, and added yellow ribbons on photos in social networking sites in mourning. Soon after, it was used by those pushing for Aquino’s only son, Benigno Aquino III, to run in the May 2010 elections; it was eventually co-opted by his campaign.

In September 2010, wearing a yellow ribbon of electrical tape around the index finger signified support of the “We Are One Filipino Movement”, a Filipino-American rally for Benigno Aquino III at the Plaza de César Chavez in San Jose, California.

(notes)

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