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Yellow Ribbons? Look to John Wayne

March 03, 1991|Harry Shearer

'Round her neck she wore a yellow

ribbon,

She wore it in the winter and the

merry month of May

So when I asked her why the

yellow ribbon

She said, "It's for my lover who is

far, far away,

Far away, Far away."

She said, "It's for my lover who is

far, far away,

Far away, Far away."

She said, "It's for my lover who is

far, far away."

1949, (Renewed) Regent Music Corp.

There is a house in Santa Monica abloom with, at a guess, a hundred yellow ribbons. One hopes that this represents an outpouring of concern for one missing relative; otherwise, it suggests that, prior to the call-up, certain housing codes were being outrageously violated. Yet, beyond issues of zoning, the display of so much yellow--once the code-color for cowardice--got me thinking. Is our national storehouse of traditions so meager that a Tony Orlando song could be this influential? Fortunately for our sense of heritage, the answer is "no." After all, none of us knock three times to signal anything. And besides, here are the lyrics from the title song of the classic 1949 John Ford Western about the U.S. cavalry, starring John Wayne--clearly the precursor and inspiration for the song that, as Tony O says, "first made us friends."

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