By Roger O’Neil Correspondent
NBC News
updated 3/19/2004 7:46:12 PM ET 2004-03-20T00:46:12

Many of the yellow ribbons are fading as the daily grind of ambushes, bombings and casualties — the ABC’s of this war — takes its toll on America’s mood.

In Phoenix, not as many come to Viana Bruce’s Wednesday support group for moms with sons and daughters in Iraq.  There were 70 then.  There are 20 now.  Bruce said, “I understand that people go on with their lives and it can’t be all-consuming, although when you have someone that is over there, it is all-consuming.”

Mississippi plant manager Marvin Winstead, like many, is disappointed no weapons of mass destruction were found.  But, “I still support what we’re doing.  I’d rather fight terrorists on their soil.”

When it comes to fighting terrorism, 62 percent of Americans in a new Pew survey that tracks worldwide opinion agree the war in Iraq is helping, but it seems strictly an American view.  In other countries, a majority thinks it’s hurting.

What began as a boisterous debate on the streets now is more subdued:

“We have to go ahead and get our job done,” said one Jiffy Express customer.

“It’s going to take a long time,” said another.

A year ago Michael Smith was organizing protests at the University of California, Berkeley.  He’s still there, but the antiwar movement isn’t.  “I’m not sure helplessness is quite the right word, but there was a sense of demoralization once the war began.”

In places like Lumberton, Miss., the war has not faded, nor have the yellow ribbons.  New ones line Main Street to welcome back National Guard troops who come home this weekend.

Patriotism in small-town America always feels more front and center, and there’s still plenty of it on display in Lumberton.  But even here, support for the war isn’t what it was a year ago.

Gregory Cooley is the mayor. “A lot of people want to know when we are getting out,” Cooley said.

Most know it will not be soon.  The American mood is that it can’t be soon enough.

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