WASHINGTON—U.S. Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) introduced H.Res 263: the Yellow Ribbon Day Resolution this week expressing Congressional support for designating April 9th as Yellow Ribbon Day to honor the service and sacrifice of active duty troops at home and abroad, and their families throughout the United States.
“Our active duty service members and their families sacrifice much and risk everything to keep us safe,” Tonko said. “Expressing Congressional support for a Yellow Ribbon Day is a way to honor them for their bravery and thank them for their service as protectors of our freedom and our way of life. I am grateful to the many New Yorkers, including in our state legislature, for leading the way in recognition of Yellow Ribbon Day and I urge Congress to respond in kind and support this positive, bipartisan resolution.”
“I am proud to support the National Yellow Ribbon Day to honor the life and memory of Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, and all those who have been held as prisoners of war,” said Congressman Brad Wenstrup. “Though Matt is no longer with us, his memory will never perish. My prayers are with Matt’s parents as we approach the anniversary of his capture. I am grateful to the Maupin family for their sacrifice for this nation, and for all they have done to support our servicemembers and families through the Yellow Ribbon Support Center.”
On April 9, 2004, Staff Sargent Keith “Matt” Maupin of Batavia, Ohio, was captured in Iraq, making him the Iraq War’s first POW/MIA. After his capture, his family established the Yellow Ribbon Support Center, which sent troops care packages along with photographs of Matt in the hope that spreading his story would help locate their son. Every year since 2006, New York State has unanimously proclaimed April 9th to be the state’s official Yellow Ribbon Day, thanks in large part to the tireless work and advocacy of New York Capital Region’s Carol Pingelski Hotaling, who worked closely with Representative Tonko to develop this worthy legislation.
The yellow ribbon also has historical significance in the country dating back to the 19th century. It was first used as a symbol to mark national unity and remembrance when 52 Americans were held hostage in Iran for 444 day, beginning November 1979.
State and local efforts to formally recognize Yellow Ribbon Day have received support from organizations including American Gold Star Mothers, endorsing the resolution nationally, as well as Blue Star Mothers of America and Patriot Guard Riders in the New York Capital Region.
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