This traditional song is the official anthem of the United States Cavalry/Armour and is still used by the US military to keep marching cadence. The song/poem has appeared in various forms for at least four centuries and is based on the tradition of a yellow ribbon being associated with those waiting for the return of a loved one or of military troops who are temporarily unable to come home. It appears to have been brought to America from Europe by English settlers and the origin of the yellow ribbons probably came from out of the Puritan heritage.
The first copyrighted version was by George A. Norton in 1917, which he titled "'Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon (For Her Lover Who Is Fur, Fur Away)." His rendition tells of the love between Susie Simpkins and her soldier lover Silas Hubbard.
In 1949 an altered version titled "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" was recorded by Russ Morgan for the 1949 John Wayne movie of the same name which was set in the western United States at a time just after the Civil War. Several popular musicians of the 1940s, including Mitch Miller and The Andrews Sisters also performed this rendering.