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Awareness ribbons
Red, white, and blue ribbon
Red, white, and blue : U.S. patriotism
Red ribbon (troops)
Red : Armed forces support; Canadian patriotism
Red ribbon
Yellow : Armed forces return

Support our troops (French: Appuyons nos troupes;[1] Spanish: Apoya a nuestras tropas) is a slogan commonly used in the United States and Canada[2] in reference to each country's military forces or troops. The slogan has been used during recent conflicts, including the Gulf War[3] and the Iraq war.

The slogan is sometimes seen as over-generalizing complex issues; for example, an individual may support personnel in the military but not the current respective government's foreign policy.


Red Friday

Groups have advocated the wearing of red on Fridays, in an event known as Red Friday,[4] to show their support for all members of the armed forces abroad, regardless of the circumstances under which they were deployed.[4] Other groups wear red on Friday to support or oppose wars, specifically the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.[citation needed]


Red Friday in Canada

Red Friday Rally on Parliament Hill

People in Canada have worn red on Fridays to show support for troops serving in the Canadian Forces. Red is chosen because it is an official Canadian colour, and historically is a colour of remembrance because it symbolizes the red poppies in Flanders Fields and the loss of life that the country has endured.[citation needed]

Many positions in the House of Commons do not allow employees to dress outside of uniform, but allow staff to wear a red ribbon as a compromise. This is the only exception to these dress codes other than wearing a poppy for Remembrance Day.[citation needed]

Related ideas

Awareness ribbons are short pieces of ribbon folded into a loop (or representations of such) that are used in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK as a way for the wearer to make a subtle statement of support for a cause or issue. A yellow ribbon is a symbol with various meanings, mostly associated with those waiting for the return of a loved one or of military troops who are temporarily unable to come home.

A yellow ribbon "support our troops" mailbox

A service flag in the United States is an official banner that family members of service members serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities can display.[5]

Criticism and opponents

Political analyst Noam Chomsky has criticized the slogan, saying,

"[...] the point of public relations slogans like "Support Our Troops" is that they don't mean anything [...] that's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody is going to be against and I suppose everybody will be for, because nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. But its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something, do you support our policy? And that's the one you're not allowed to talk about."[6]
"Support our troops" sign on cemetery lawn in Independence, Oregon.

See also



  1. ^ (French) Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency. Centre national d'information. Accessed 18 December 2007.
  2. ^ Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency. National News Centre. Accessed 18 December 2007.
  3. ^ Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War. Page 223.
  4. ^ a b Barnett, R. (2007). Spiritual e-soup: a compilation of inspirational messages from the Internet. Charlottesville, Va: e-Soup. Page 80.
  5. ^ U.S. Congress (unknown date). 36 USC 901 provided by Cornell Law School.
  6. ^ Noam Chomsky (2002). Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda. 2nd Edition. Seven Stories Press. p. 26. ISBN 1583225366. 


Further reading

  • Dinyer, E. (2004). Support our troops. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Pub.


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