Yellow Ribbons Bring Message of Support

Three people tie ribbon around a tree
Tying a ribbon around a tree on the Quad are, from left, Jonathan Ramer of the Veterans Success Center, Core Officer Tabbasum “Tabby” Malik and Marcie Kirk Holland of the Internship and Career Center. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Yellow ribbons have returned to the Quad, signaling the university’s support for veterans and Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Some 15 people gathered yesterday (Nov. 6) for a campus tradition that is more than a decade old — tying yellow ribbons around nearly every tree on the Quad.

The event had to be rescheduled to later in the day because of the morning rain, but staff from the Veterans Success Center, along with other Aggies, were able to complete their task.

“The reason yellow ribbons are important to me is because of the symbolism it represents for all military members, whether they are currently serving, retired, deployed, or never been deployed, to honor their service,” said Jonathan Ramer, ​veterans center coordinator. “Being third generation military, where my grandfather and father both served, and coming from a military family, it provides perspective of how it is my way of honoring our heritage.”

Yellow ribbons have a long history associated with support for service members, popularized by songs dating back to the 1910s and 1970s.

Man ties yellow ribbons on trees.
Raul Razo, a staff member at the Veterans Success Center, works to tie ribbons around trees yesterday (Nov. 6). (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

On campus, the tradition of adorning trees on the Quad began in 2011. The brainchild of Felipe Grimaldo, a Marine Corps veteran who graduated from UC Davis in 2013 after serving two tours in Iraq, the effort was an attempt to bring Veterans Day to the forefront and show support for active-duty and past service members.

Chancellor Gary S. May brought the message of support for veterans to a wider community through a video recorded with Hope Medina, director of Transfer and Veteran Services.

“All week, we honor our staff, faculty and student veterans who served in the armed forces,” May said.

The university will be closed Friday (Nov. 10) in observance of Veterans Day.

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Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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