All across America, complete strangers are waving at each other with a flash of yellow. Or red, or pink, or blue.
Each is making a quiet statement through a little colored rubber bracelet, about the size of a fat rubber band. Just as people by the millions once wore poppies in their lapels to remember the fallen of World War One, and others today wear yellow ribbons to keep missing service men and women in mind -- or pink ribbons in the name of breast cancer research -- Americans are connecting through these wristbands.
The foundation named for cycling star and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong started it all with yellow rubber bracelets. The message, “LIVESTRONG” is stamped on each of them.
Now there is a rainbow of bands, available for a dollar or some other small donation, and worn with pride. Orange ones for H-I-V awareness. Red ones to fight diabetes. Burgundy ones -- imprinted with the word “remember” -- to get people thinking about the old and sick and forgotten in hospices.
There are specially created bracelets, like those you see throughout the state of Utah that bear the message, “Find Brooke.” That one is dedicated to a college student who was abducted last May and has not been seen since.
Many of the people who wear these humble bracelets say they create a bond with a lost or ailing loved one -- or with others of like mind in an impersonal world.
But lest you think only sentiment drives this explosion of wrist wear, some folks say they wear these colored bracelets just because their favorite movie star wears one.
Call it a fashion statement for a good cause.