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Tie a Yellow Ribbon
By Tony Orlando
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2006 Tony Orlando
All rights reserved.
I could never have predicted the impact this song, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon," would have on my career—and on my country. When we recorded it in 1973, we hoped for a hit song. It not only became a huge hit, it also became the theme song for the Tony Orlando and Dawn television show. This song changed my life, but the greatest inspiration was to see how the song touched so many hearts and lives, becoming an anthem of hope and love for the entire country.
It started with the 1973 Cotton Bowl performance, hosted by Bob Hope and welcoming our POWs home from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Seventy thousand people were welcoming these brave men, and as we began the chorus, "Tie a yellow ribbon" they started singing the chorus along with us, joining in as if it was a national anthem.
Mr. Hope said to me, "Tony, the opening line of your song, 'I'm coming home, I've done my time,' is every mother's wish, every soldier's prayer; every mother's prayer, and every soldier's wish. You're going to be singing this song for the rest of your life." How prophetic he was. I was just the mailman who delivered the letter, along with the songwriters: in memory of Irwin Levin and special thanks to L. Russell Brown. It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be involved with bringing this song to the world.
"Tie a Yellow Ribbon" welcomed the hostages home from Iran in 1980. Yellow ribbons flew on everything from the space shuttle to sky scrapers. Then people sang the song in support of our troops during Desert Storm. Today driving down the freeway you'll see yellow ribbons on cars in support of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yellow ribbons have become an icon for those who wait at home for their loved ones far away.
No matter how far away your loved one may be, they are always near and dear to the heart. So we'll tie that yellow ribbon on that oak tree or on our front door or stick it to our car to let them know though they are in our thoughts and prayers and that we love and honor them with all our hearts.
It was about a return from prison.
Then it became a song.
Then it became welcome home from Iran.
Then it was for a lost son or daughter.
Then it was for Desert Storm.
Then it was for a cause.
Now it is for you.
ALWAYS KNOW WHERE HOME IS.
HOPE is the most amazing boat in the world.
Storms cannot sway it,
Deep waters cannot sink it,
Enemies cannot destroy it,
It forever sails into the horizon of the unknown
To bring you home to me.
I watched them all saying good-bye.
Some were loud.
Some were laughing.
Some were crying.
It was as if in slow motion.
Life was happening all around me.
And I just watched, trying to breathe again.
There is the first-day-of-school good-bye,
There is the empty-nest good-bye,
There is the end-of-summer good-bye,
There is the perfect-night-under-the-moon good-bye,
There is the unsaid good-bye,
There is the stolen good-bye,
There is the noble good-bye,
THERE IS NO GOOD-BYE THAT COMPARES WITH TODAY.
IT IS ALL ABOUT THE journey.
WE ARE CREATED BY IT.
WE ARE MADE STRONGER BY IT.
WE ARE DESTROYED BY IT.
AND WE ARE REBORN FROM IT.
FOR AS FAR AS YOUR ROAD GOES ...
I'LL BE HERE WHEN YOU RETURN.
Excerpted from Tie a Yellow Ribbon by Tony Orlando. Copyright © 2006 Tony Orlando. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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