Town Bans Yellow Ribbons to Support US Troops

By Jeff McKay | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

Fieldsboro, N.J. ( - Government officials in the Trenton, N.J. suburb of Fieldsboro insist they support U.S. troops currently engaged in the war in Iraq. However, they have banned the display of yellow ribbons and other war-related memorials from public property.

The move has drawn sharp criticism from residents and business owners who want to show their support for the American troops trying to oust the regime of Saddam Hussein.

"[Last week], I placed yellow ribbons on a tree just two feet off my property next to the sign that says 'Welcome to Fieldsboro,'" said Diane Johnson, the co-owner of Hegyi's Liquor Store in Fieldsboro. "I was told to take them down, and if I didn't -- they would. I was shocked."

Only four of the six borough council members were in attendance for the vote, but all voted for the ban, and according to Johnson, against the wishes of the 600 residents whose tiny town is located near the state capital of Trenton.

Fieldsboro Mayor Edward Tyler denied the move was a slap at the U.S. military fighting overseas.

"I absolutely believe that people have the right to show their support for our servicemen and women," said Tyler. "We just ask that displays be made on their own property, not on borough property. Where would you draw the line if people started using public property to exhibit whatever cause they wanted?"

"He (Tyler) said if we allowed this (yellow ribbons) to go on, the gays with pink ribbons and the communists and the Nazis with their swastikas -- what if they wanted to put their flags on public property? Tyler and the council, they just don't get it," said Johnson.

One committee member who was not at the meeting made it clear he did not stand with his fellow committee members. "I support the American troops 100 percent," said Michael Carroll, a Democratic member of the council. "I have had an American flag on my door since 9/11."

The mayor and the entire borough council are Democrats.

"This is a matter of the heart," said Johnson. "People should support our troops. They are shedding blood for us."

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