Entertainer Tony Orlando feels something special for those yellow ribbons, the ubiquitous symbol of hope for loved ones held captive.
The singer known for "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" said in a telephone interview last week that he discovered the song's deep emotional effect shortly after it was released.
It was in 1973, and the group Dawn, featuring Orlando as lead singer, was the opening act at a Bob Hope show at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. About 400 or 500 former prisoners of war were seated in front of the stage.
The song is based on a Civil War story about the homecoming of a Union soldier from a Confederate prison. In the song, the man is welcomed by yellow ribbons as he comes home from a stint in prison. The message moved the former POWs.
"I'm on stage and I'm singing this song and all of a sudden it was the most spine-chilling moment," he said. "Up they got, off their chairs, and they're coming toward the stage and they come on stage and they begin to sing the song."