Yellow ribbons taken down from Capitol, move to memorial

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — As state officials prepare to honor the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a small part will include sprucing up the yellow ribbons around the Idaho Capitol.

However, for the first time in more than a decade, the giant yellow ribbons are no longer festooned around the four front columns of the Statehouse. Instead, two smaller yellow bows have been placed at the nearby Idaho Fallen Soldier Memorial. The newly finished memorial honors the state's military members killed since the 9/11 attacks.

The Idaho Department of Administration took down the ribbons in December after Charles Hummel — the grandson of the influential architect who co-designed the state Capitol in 1905 — asked the state's Capitol Commission to take them down citing concerns that they violated Idaho's building statutes.

"We thought they would they would be better displayed next door," said Diane Blume, spokeswoman for the Department of Administration.

Former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne ordered the ribbons to be wrapped around the capitol's columns in 2004 to honor the Idaho National Guard deployment to Iraq after being inspired by fellow Idahoans placing yellow ribbons in their cars and homes.

Five years later, the ribbons became associated with supporting Idaho-native Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and wound up as a captive of the Taliban and its allies until 2014. They remained in front of the capitol when Bergdahl was released.

"By now, most of our people are out of harm's way so moving them made sense," said Jon Hanian, spokesman for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Replacing the ribbons had also become a financial burden. With wildfire smoke plaguing Boise's summers and harsh weather conditions in the winter, the ribbons needed to be replaced every few years — which costs as much as $1,000.

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