The incomplete circle above the rifle symbolizes Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing our fullest attention into the present moment. The rifle, helmet, boots and dog tags symbolize a service member who died in a combat theater. The two symbols together represent our sacred responsibility to honor the fallen in a mindful manner.
A living memorial . . . in 2018 for the fifth consecutive year, Mindful Memorial Day will be observed with the hanging of yellow ribbons and fallen warrior cards—one for each service member killed in-theater since September 11, 2001. The ribbons and their attached cards will be suspended from the rafters of The Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the gates of Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2014 we hung 6,805 yellow ribbons at the Women's Memorial. By 2015, the number had risen to 6,821. Now, after a recent update of our database, we’re sad to report that the number has climbed to 6,876.
The fallen warrior cards are initially blank but have a space where an adhesive tag with a service member’s name and other information can be applied. Visitors may request a specific service member or accept a random choice. By using multiple sources—including searching through news articles and obituaries—we’ve double-checked names, dates, military branches, rankings, operations being supported, and hometowns to make sure the information on each tag is as accurate as possible.
Visitors, with their consent, will be led by a volunteer through a mindful moment of gratitude. The ribbon is then turned into a necklace that the visitor may take home as a reminder and memento. Visitors are also encouraged to memorialize “their” fallen warrior on the Mindful Memorial Day Facebook page.
Armor Down is the organization behind Mindful Memorial Day. Its founder is Iraq War Veteran Ben King.