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Wanted: Shots of yellow ribbons

There isn't a tree, porch post or flower pot outside Samantha Peterson's house that doesn't have a giant yellow ribbon tied around it.

Peterson put them up April 3, the day her husband, Army 1st Lt. Donavan Peterson, was sent to Iraq. She says he's the only one who can take the ribbons down when he returns in 2004, but she hopes he'll get a preview of the display in a proposed book.

Peterson has submitted a photograph of her handiwork for possible inclusion in a book documenting yellow ribbon displays around the country, which is being compiled for soldiers in Iraq.

"I would love it if he were looking through the book and came across our house," she said.

Katherine Franz, photographic branch chief at the Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., came up with the idea for the book while walking around the fort after the Iraq war began.

"I was noticing all the yellow ribbons, and I said to myself, "You know, the soldiers need to see this,' " Franz said.

It became even more pressing when she received an e-mail from her 22-year-old nephew, an Army policeman serving in Iraq.

"He said, "I'm hot and I'm tired and being shot at makes the day go by faster,' " Franz said. "Your heart just goes out."

Franz has been working independently on what she has dubbed "Yellow Ribbon Project." She was still working out details _ including funding _ but envisions a 200- to 300-page book with pictures from all 50 states that would be distributed free to soldiers in Iraq.

"It's a gift for American service men and women to show them what we see back here while they're gone," she said.

The Army embraced Franz's book idea and gave her permission to seek help from Army units across the country.

Master Sgt. Yolanda Choates, who is overseeing the project at Fort Leonard Wood, said she received a half-dozen entries within the first week. Peterson's photograph was the first.

"I'm very, very proud of what he's doing," Peterson said of her husband. "For me, it's the absolute least I can do."

To enter

Photos are due July 31 and may be e-mailed to Katherine Franz at totallykatherineaol.com.

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