"Until You're Home Again"
Since the beginning of our nation in 1776, American service men and women have marched away to distant places, leaving friends, family and their own hopes and dreams in order that others may be free.
Over the years we have used different expressions to show and symbolize our gratitude to those who are away, to let them know that they are not forgotten, and that their return is anxiously awaited.
During World War II paper stars were placed in the windows of the homes of the families whose sons and daughters were away in military service.
During the Korean War, bands would often be waiting at seaside docks with tunes and songs to welcome home the returning troops.
There were no such outpourings or exhibits or symbols of welcome or signs of remembrance for the thousands of service men and women who faithfully and honorably served our country during the Vietnam War. They were generally "greeted" with indifference and in many cases shamefully called hateful and hurtful names and even spat upon by protestors of the war.
When American civilians were held hostage by Iran in 1981, a new symbol for support and remembrance emerged in the form of yellow ribbons being tied around trees in support of the hostages. The hostages were later released and came home to a tumultuous welcome. Sadly, there were no ribbons or "welcome home" for the soldiers who died attempting their rescue. Although the ribbons and celebrations for the hostages were well intended and with merit, they only helped to remind Vietnam Veterans of the hurtful and shameful slight that had been shown to them and the lack of public support for our American service men and women.
In 1991, after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, our troops were deployed to repel this tyrannical invader in the war known as Desert Storm. It was during this time that there was a revival of the public's conscience and the yellow ribbon then began to emerge as a national symbol of support for our military personnel who were away from home. Yellow ribbons could be seen all over the country. Ribbons were placed on trees, lampposts, backs of cars, trucks, and on doors and windows—to let our troops know that they were remembered.
The bronze "yellow" ribbon in Veterans Memorial Park is the first of its kind in the nation and is a permanent symbol of remembrance and support for our military service men and women who are away from their families, friends and homes preserving our freedom. This monument, which was dedicated on 11 November 2005, helps to ensure that the indifference and disrespect shown to the Vietnam Veterans will not happen to other service men and women.
The price of freedom is constant vigilance and so long as we must fight to preserve our freedom there will always be service men and women maintaining the vigil away from their friends, family and home. This monument is a permanent symbol of support and to assure that all our military service men and women and families know that in Abingdon and Washington County, Virginia, they are appreciated and remembered. This ribbon and monument will always be here for them all?"Until They're Home Again."