Tie a yellow ribbon for soldiers in Gulf

By Vickie Snow

Tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree…or your car antenna or light post or wear one on your coat…if you want to show the U.S. troops you’re thinking about them.

Many groups around the NIU campus are following the national trend of making it known that a yellow ribbon means you care about those who have been sent to fight in the Persian Gulf, regardless of your feelings about U.S. involvement.

Students can show their support of the troops by picking up a little yellow ribbon pin at various spots around campus and sticking it to their clothing.

Today, about 2,000 pins popped up in boxes at the Holmes Student Center, residence halls and greek houses, thanks to one of NIU’s newest fraternities, Alpha Kappa Lambda.

AKL member Canto Lee said there is a “huge interest” in wearing the ribbons. The fraternity handed out 500 ribbons around campus Tuesday after beginning the project on the “spur of the moment,” he said.

“We’d like to fill the entire campus with yellow ribbons,” Lee said. The colorful demonstration “doesn’t support or protest the war. We just hope everybody comes home safely.”

Another one of the groups making it easier for students to get the meaningful decorations is the Newman Catholic Student Center, 512 Normal Road.

Last September, the center posted a bulletin board where people can place the names of loved ones who are fighting in the war, said Kathy Engelken, coordinator of the center’s Justice and Peace Program, which offers educational and volunteer services.

Also posted on the board are yellow ribbon pins for people to take and wear, she said.

The sentimental board will remain hanging “until the war is over and our soldiers come back,” Engelken said.

The ribbons emphasize the support of the soldiers and their families, and not necessarily the country’s actions in the Gulf, she added.

The center has been holding peace prayer vigils every Monday at 9:05 p.m. since September, Engelken said. The service usually consists of music, organized prayers, slides and quiet prayer times, she said.