Awareness Ribbons Yellow Ribbon

Understanding the Meaning of a Yellow Ribbon

Meaning of a Yellow Ribbon
Written by Dawn Herrera

If you have been curious about awareness campaigns, you must have realized that yellow ribbon is very common and prominent. Whether it is around the trees, on the car bumpers, streets, and any other place, it sends a particular message. From history, the yellow ribbons became pronounced after the Gulf War when America sent troops overseas to Middle East.

Today, the ribbon is an internationally support symbol for troops or anyone who is away from home, either taken hostage or missing. For you to understand the meaning of a yellow ribbon further, this article has all that you need to know.

Support for Troops

It all started during the Iran hostage crisis and the Gulf War (1980s and 1990s) when yellow ribbons were tied on various places as a sign of support and safe release of the troops. The same happened in 2003 during the deployment of US troops to Afghanistan.

Up to today, yellow ribbons are displayed whenever soldiers go to a mission far away. To expound further, yellow ribbons are displayed by individuals waiting for their family members serving in the military or any person who supports the troops.

Missing Persons

Every year, the number of missing people keeps on increasing, with the majority being children. Also, yellow ribbons takes center stage when remembering prisoners of war or those missing in action while on service.

Internationally, a yellow ribbon is a well-understood way to say that someone is missing. When a family or friend goes missing, the ribbons can be worn on clothes in case there will be a campaign. Alternatively, you can choose to tie the yellow ribbons within the street with the details of the missing person.


With the changes in lifestyle among many adults and kids, the cases of obesity are on the rise. One in every three children in the U.S is at risk of becoming overweight or obese. This has led to the need for awareness through the yellow ribbons, and this happens in September of every month.

Previously, people associated the condition with adults, and that’s not the case anymore. Obesity awareness involves the use of a yellow ribbon. The campaign informs the public about the epidemic nature of the condition and how to take action if already affected.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide cases are not new, and youths tend to be the major victims. Communities and organizations are mobilizing people by raising awareness on ways to prevent suicide. The awareness involves the yellow ribbons not only in the United States but also other parts of the world.

The Yellow Ribbon Suicide Program aims to ensure that everyone gains access to suicidal prevention resources like education and training. They use the yellow ribbon in the mobilization and awareness. Yellow ribbons became the selected choice of color when a group of teens started wearing yellow flowers and ribbons to cherish their friend generosity when he died due to suicide.

Bone Cancer

Various forms of cancer continue to affect many people irrespective of their age. For that reason, cancer ribbons are many, and each has a characteristic color. People wear them to show support for those with particular cancer or to spread awareness about the condition.

Yellow ribbons represent sarcoma or bone cancer, and it manifests in varying forms affecting the body tissues, cartilage among other places. During July, people and organizations spread awareness to notify and educate the general public about bone cancer.

Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida, which is a congenital disability, develops when there is incomplete closing of both the membranes and the backbone of the baby spinal cord. Every October, people showcase their yellow ribbons on social media or through movements to raise awareness and give support to those with the condition. The campaigns come in handy, keeping in mind that individuals with Spina Bifida are at risk of depression.

Yellow ribbons are symptomatic of various causes. The main aim is to inform people and support those with specific conditions. Other campaigns that prefer the yellow ribbon include the following:

  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Microcephaly
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Complementary/Alternative Medicine
  • Remembrance

Our society becomes conducive when everyone is mindful of their neighbors. The use of ribbons is one way of showing compassion. However, you need to know that understanding the meaning of a yellow ribbon is the first step towards a successful awareness campaign of a particular cause, especially those explained above.

About the author

Dawn Herrera

Dawn is an extremely passionate ribbon designer and blogger. She's written hoards of articles on the importance of using ribbons to raise the awareness of deadly diseases all around us.