Small Wars Journal

Yellow Ribbons Don't Measure Real Support

Yellow Ribbons on Cars Don't Measure Real Support -- Douglas MacKinnon, Houston Chronicle

Hat Tips to Dave Maxwell and Mac McAllister for pointing to this op-ed.

Who in the United States really supports our troops? If truth be told, basically nobody.

My former boss, Sen. Bob Dole — who was grievously wounded in combat during World War II and then spent the next three years of his life in various hospitals trying to survive and recover from his wounds — says this generation of soldiers, not his, is truly "The Greatest Generation." Over the course of the last few years, he has quietly visited with hundreds of wounded soldiers and been brought to tears, not only by their sacrifice, but also by their determination to rejoin their fellow soldiers back in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While Bob Dole, who clearly supports our troops, may think of them as "The Greatest Generation," not many of us agree with his very accurate assessment. Out of a nation of now 300 million people, who really cares about the young men and women we send into harm's way?

Let's see. Those on active duty obviously care, their families care, veterans care, a small number in the media care, some states like Texas care more than others, and a minute amount of the national population actually cares. But for the vast majority of the rest America, the young men and women who serve on the front lines and protect us from evil are all but invisible. They don't exist in our lives, they occupy no space in our minds, and their sacrifice goes unnoticed and unappreciated...

Go to the link to read it all.


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I'm probably the average Joe that the author implies. I had never heard of the USO before RushL/GlennB fund-raised for them (!!); I don't 'personally' know anyone in the military; etc. Yet, I cut corners on my fun regularly to send letters, goodies, music, and soccer balls, etc. through They have repeat customers on their x'th tour... as well as an Hall of Honor for those who signed up but didn't make it home.

Check their stats, there are *many* folks who don't care if their info is counted in any 'official' way, etc. but whose eyes were opened on 911 and who were _enabled_ to do something about that pent-up emotion by a group with the 'right connections'. is also new (started in '03) so author of article probably never heard of them or their followers.

No wonder the doom'n'gloom/fatalism from the author - I'd be hopeless too.

Gents and Ladies,

You paint it far too black, and if you check the link above that's a bold statement coming from me. When I walked thru the airport in Atlanta on mid-tour (they took us in column from the USO) the people clapped on all sides. When I got on plane to connect to home, the crew made an announcement and the passengers applauded. In all the time from 03 on (when I came back) to the end whenever I or we went anywhere in uniform strangers thanked me out of the blue. The few peace protestors I saw near military installations were cursed at, flipped the birdy or spit at by civilian passerby.

And don't get me started on the care packages or mail from children.

When I returned the office threw me a catered party at work. I found out in the interim while I was gone the company (British parent co) has adopted reimbursing the differential on I lose no money. This is a private sector employer.

In fact...we had better dammit win, with all the support and respect we are getting from our too trusting fellow citizens.

Finally...this guy is either buying into or selling the "solider as victim" line...NO NO NO. We are the last people who get to claim coveted victim status.