Order of the Garter

“Give me the greatness of heart to see,
The difference between duty and his love for me.
Give me the understanding so that I may know,
When duty calls him, he must go.
Give me a task to do each day,
To fill the time when he’s away.
When he’s in a foreign land,
Keep him safe in your loving hand.”
– Unknown

Displaying a yellow ribbon, scarf, or garter to signify that family members are awaiting the return of a loved one originated well before musician Tony Orlando sang the popular “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree” in the 1970′s.

Around the late 1700′s & early 1800′s, wives, girlfriends and fiancées of the Cav Troopers who protected the wagon trains headed west, would often tie a yellow scarf or ribbon around their hat, arm, or parasol. This was to show that they anxiously awaited the return of “their soldiers.” Some would tie the scarf or ribbon to their purse, or wear yellow ribbons in their hair to show support.

The 1949 movie, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” is a classic example of this well-known practice. Over the years this idea has taken many forms, such as the wearing of yellow ribbons or tying yellow ribbons on trees and houses.

Cavalry tradition has it that when a new wife came to her first Hail and Farewell she was welcomed into the “Order of the Yellow Rose” by the most junior officer or non-commissioned officer. This Trooper would welcome each wife by presenting her with a yellow rose and a kiss on her cheek for good luck at her new post.

Today, Cavalry units have replaced this tradition with the giving of a yellow garter. The wife was encouraged to wear her “yellow garter” to all Cavalry functions or when her Trooper was deployed.

Here is another great example from 1-6 Cav. 


A Garter Ceremony from the 2007 2-17 Cav formal and some Garter recipients from 1-89 Cav:


If you are interested in purchasing garters for your next unit formal, Hail and Farewell, or Family Readiness Group function, go here.