The power of ribbons

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The power of ribbons

The author is a national 2 team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Actor Youn Yuh-jung, 75, presented the Best Supporting Actor award at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27. She was wearing something blue on her left shoulder that looked like a badge.

It was a ribbon that said #WithRefugees. American actor Jamie Lee Curtis wore the ribbon on her left ring finger. The ribbons were provided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Unchr) to show support and solidarity for Ukraine which was invaded by Russia.

According to the Unhcr, approximately 3.8 million Ukrainian refugees crossed the border. The blue represents the United Nations and is also a color on the flag of Ukraine. The blue ribbons on the dresses and suits of the actors attending the Academy Awards shined brighter than any jewelry.

Ribbons began to be used for social campaigns in the United States in the 1970s. In 1973, American pop music group Tony Orlando and Dawn released a song titled “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Ole Oak Tree.” The song is about someone returning after serving a three-year term in prison and asking his love to tie a yellow ribbon around the “ole oak tree” in front of her house if she still loves him. The song was immensely successful as it coincided with the return of the prisoners of the Vietnam War.

In 1979, American diplomats were detained in Iran. It was reported on the news that a wife of one of the diplomats in the United States tied a yellow ribbon on an oak tree in front of their house. The husband was released after two years, and the couple untied the yellow ribbon together. In the wake of the Sewol Ferry sinking on April 16, 2014, Koreans joined the yellow ribbon campaign wishing for the safe return of the missing passengers, mostly high school students on a field trip to Jeju Island from Incheon.

Pink ribbons are the symbol of breast cancer awareness. In 1992, philanthropist Evelyn Lauder famously started a campaign distributing 1.5 million breast cancer self-test kits with pink ribbons. Evelyn, daughter-in-law of Estée Lauder, was a breast cancer survivor.

Ribbons are made with a soft material but can be powerful weapons. One ribbon is enough to fight against wars and diseases.
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