Illustration of an American flag with a yellow ribbon tied around the pole on a white background
A flag with a yellow ribbon is an emblem supporting military troops sometimes meaning, “bring our troops home.” This symbol is most prevalent to the public’s response to Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. Desert Storm was the combat period of the Gulf War that began as a reaction to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. After months of diplomacy, Desert Storm was initiated on January 17, 1991, to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait with more than 900,000 troops from 24 countries. Within 100 hours of the operation’s start, there was a cease fire and the majority of troops left Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s leadership.
Desert Storm was the first war after the Vietnam conflict and the public actively showed their support with the display of yellow ribbons on trees or partnered with the colors of the U.S. flag. Unlike previous wartime symbols, the yellow ribbon often represented a family unit or business rather than a single person, and were far more decorative than other representations: they were carefully crafted to be beautiful while retaining their political meaning.
Gulf War (2020, June 17). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 20, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War
Santino, J. (1992). Yellow Ribbons and Seasonal Flags: The Folk Assemblage of War. The Journal of American Folklore, 105(415), 19-33. doi:10.2307/541997
Taylor, A. (2016, January 14). Operation Desert Storm: 25 Years Since the First Gulf War. In The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/01/operation-desert-storm-25-year...