Vandals are destroying ribbons in downtown South Vienna that have been posted to welcome America’s troops back home.
Veterans Dale Friend and Ivan Landis have been putting the ribbons on telephone polls around town for the last eight years.
“They (troops) come back and no one pays any attention to them except their family. It’s like (Vietnam),” Friend said. “They need a pat on the back to make them feel good.”
Friend said he has put up 90 ribbons around town, and 10 to 20 have been destroyed. He believes it is young kids who may be doing the damage and don’t know what they are destroying.
Chris Lopez, 13, of South Vienna, has a brother-in-law in the Air Force. He said he may know the youth who are destroying the ribbons.
“It kind of makes me mad, because if they had someone in the Air Force, they could have died, and they are being rude about it,” Lopez said. “Other families appreciate the ribbons; they just don’t care.”
Friend puts red, white and blue ribbons around telephone polls and a “Support Our Troops” sticker in the middle.
He also wraps some polls with yellow ribbon and then puts a piece of red, white and blue ribbon in the middle to represent the flag.
The yellow ribbons are inspired by the old song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” Friend said.
He said the young teens destroying the ribbons have never heard that song and their parents probably have not either. He wants people’s grandparents to educate the youths about the meaning of the yellow ribbons around town.
Friend said he does it because he knows what it is like to get a cold reception after being oversees fighting for our country.
“I remember the looks I got when I came back from Vietnam. It was like they wanted to throw rocks at me,” Friend said. “I want these people recognized for what these people have given up in their lives.”
Friend said he will be moving from South Vienna soon to get closer to family. He said he hopes someone will take on the tradition, maybe a school organization or possibly the Boy Scouts.
Lopez said that it would be a tradition he would consider carrying on because, “People don’t realize what they are doing for us.”