March 13, 2013 — A stroll in downtown Olive Hill now features new décor on some buildings – yellow ribbons hung in remembrance of local National Guard soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.
The Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Olive Hill Historical Society are partnering to distribute ribbons to local businesses to show their pride and support for the troops and their families.
“We're handing out the ribbons to businesses and they can also be picked up at Sally's Flowers for those who want to participate,” said Linda Lowe, president of the Historical Society.
Soldiers of the 149th Vertical Construction Company left Olive Hill earlier this month for a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. Their mission will consist of constructing new buildings in the war torn country which has been decimated by military conflicts in the region.
The tradition of the yellow ribbon can be traced back for centuries but the first copyrighted song in the U.S. was “Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon,” penned in 1917 by George A. Norton.
The song tells the tale of Susie Simpkins and her love, Silas Hubbard, a soldier who is far away from home.
The song's chorus tells of the ribbon's meaning:
'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 song has been modified and re-recorded over the years but the imagery of displaying a yellow ribbon in remembrance of faraway soldiers has endured throughout each version.
The ribbons will hang on the doors of local businesses and other establishments until the soldiers return from their deployment, which could last as long as a year.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.