Support our Troops Ribbon
by Dr. John Luton,
Elizabeth City State University
Yesterday, during our university’s mid-year graduation, hundreds of parents, students and faculty gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 100 enthusiastic young, and not so young, 2004 graduates. Many of these men and women will now go out into the job market to find a means of supporting themselves. But there were several young men present at yesterday’s graduation who had other things on their minds. These were the ones (all men in our case) who received their commissions as Second Lieutenants in the U. S. Army. All three already have orders to report to Iraq.
Support Our Troops Ribbon
While to some it may seem like a small gesture, I strongly favor wearing the Support Our Troops Ribbon to show appreciation for the sacrifice that our men and women in uniform are undertaking on our behalf. These troops need to know they’re not forgotten on the battlefields of Iraq and -- no matter how some of us might feel about the war -- we want all of them to come home safely.
While War divides ~ Symbols Can Unite
Symbols always represent greater realities than themselves. Which is more important – a wedding band, or the marriage it represents? The band is just a symbol, but it’s a powerful one that’s loaded with special meaning and significance. Marriage partners wear those bands proudly to represent their shared commitment of love and devotion.
The yellow-colored Support Our Troops Ribbon is also a special symbol that’s filled with meaning and significance. Those ribbons are meaningful to all members of the armed services, as well as their families. The ribbons also serve as a reminder that, in our society, none of our differences are nearly as important as the bonds that hold us together as one nation -- and, let me hasten to add, “that’s one nation under God.”
United, But Not Deformed
In the New Testament (I Corinthians 12: 12-26), the apostle Paul reminded his hearers that they were different members of the same body – the Church. He also pointed out how ridiculous our human bodies would be if every part tried to serve the same function!
Just as we have so many different body parts, we also have so many different kinds of Americans. But one truth rings clearly: We’re all Americans. Though we have our differences – and there are some significant ones – we are united in our love for the many freedoms we cherish. Freedoms, which in many countries, the people can only dream about and long for, with little hope of fulfillment.
Won’t You Wear a Support Our Troops Ribbon?
Wearing a Support Our Troops Ribbon is not necessarily a statement about the war. Neither does it have to be a vote of confidence for the current administration. It’s all about our troops – the thousands of men and women who – right this very moment – may be putting their lives on the line, or even dying, while we sit in the safety of our homes. It’s just a way of expressing appreciation for what they’re enduring on our behalf.
I’m proud to be an American. While we have our many shortcomings, we are also a part of the greatest nation on the face of the earth. As our men and women in uniform strive to keep us free, let us honor their valor by donning the yellow Support Our Troops Ribbon on our lapels or collars.
May God bless our troops and our country!
If you’d like to read all of the Apostle Paul’s human body analogy, click on:
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Growing up in northeastern North Carolina,
John Luton marveled as his father told stories about his
childhood and World War II adventures. Bluebird
in Belgium relates those wonderful stories.
Dr. Luton teaches world literature and
mass communication at Elizabeth City State University.
The Lutons have three grown children.