It seems like just yesterday that I had started a yellow ribbon hanging campaign of various cities (to which many Mayors gladly honoured our troops by doing so - thank you :) Let's do it again.
I posted the story of the moms below. Read on.
Symbolic Yellow Ribbons Cut Down
CambridgeTimes.ca and Hamilton Mountain News
By Melissa Hancock
Jun 19, 2008
Yellow ribbons hung in the downtown area of Galt to signify the safe return home of Canadian soldiers were cut down in what some are assuming was a hasty act of objection to the war in Afghanistan.
"My first reaction was anger," said Cambridge resident Bob Stebbings, a retired military warrant officer. "My second reaction was sadness."
Mothers from a military family support group, which includes members from Cambridge and surrounding cities and towns, tied about 40 of the symbolic yellow ribbons around trees and light posts late last month in preparation for the later summer deployment of about 2,500 soldiers. Days later, one of the mothers found several ribbons in a garbage can on a sidewalk near Ainslie and Main streets.
"I was just flabbergasted," said Sharon Coulson, whose son will be among those deployed in a few months. "Somebody went around and cut them down."
As she ran errands near the Ainslie and Main streets area a couple of weeks ago, Coulson spotted several of the snipped yellow ribbons sitting in a shopping cart that was being pushed by a homeless man.
Coulson approached the man and asked where he'd acquired the yellow ribbons. He found them in the garbage, she said, and was hoping to sell them.
"I was asking myself all kinds of questions," she told the Times.
Coulson wondered: did a city worker take down the ribbons without knowing they were allowed to be up? Did the man with the shopping cart cut them down himself? Or did someone who doesn't agree with the war in Afghanistan cut them down?
"This has got nothing to do with the war," she noted about the ribbons. "It's not just for one, two or three - it's for every soldier out there."
She said she believed the man with the cart and walked over to the area where he said he'd found the ribbons. That's where she found more cut in half and sitting on top of the trash.
"That's a slap in the face to my son as a soldier," charged Coulson. "I was so upset."
The man gave back the ribbons to Coulson and she later continued to search for more that were discarded. After glancing up and down the streets where the ribbons were hung, she could tell how many were left just by looking. About a dozen remained out of the 40 that went up. But Coulson didn't look for long.
"I was just so upset; I couldn't look in the garbage anymore."
Stebbings said he thinks the public needs to be more aware of all that goes on overseas. Stories need to be heard of Canadian soldiers who have helped women in Afghanistan start their own businesses, he said.
"I'm a little disappointed that our government isn't explaining more of what's going on there."
However, the yellow ribbon signifies the safe return of Canada's men and women and it does not signify support of the war or have any political bearing, Stebbings added.
His wife, Andrea Stebbings - who is the executive director of the Downtown Cambridge Business Improvement Association - shares a similar reaction to what happened.
"I was stunned," said Andrea. "We all know what that ribbon represents."
The executive director, who was downtown at the armoury on Valour Place last month when the military support group mothers hung their ribbons, said it was most likely the act of someone who disagrees with the war.
"There's no politics in this yellow ribbon," she said. "It's a little yellow ribbon that carries so much meaning."
More ribbons have been hung up and there are still more to come, said Andrea. And if more are cut down, others will go right back up.
"Even if we have to climb higher up the pole."