A few yellow bows changed all that.
Fieldsboro's name is all over the national media after it was reported that Tyler and the Borough Council last week banned the ribbons - a symbol to wish the safe return of U.S. troops - from public property.
People across the world have read the tale at a time when expressing opposition to war is one thing, not supporting the troops another.
And the world is telling Fieldsboro as much.
Borough officials say the public has been misinformed. They do support the troops, they maintain.
That has not stopped detractors from flooding local newspaper in-boxes and message boards, and setting phone lines all over Fieldsboro alight.
A local woman is circulating a petition to repeal the ban and has organized a candlelight vigil tonight to support the troops, including 20-year-old Joshua Carr, a Fieldsboro native in Iraq with the Marines.
On Saturday at noon, officials expect another influx with a rally organized by a Queens, N.Y., resident. Nat Broizman said that he originally had intended to drive to Fieldsboro with a few truckloads of people to put up more yellow ribbons, but that his movement quickly had gained momentum. Now helping him get the word out are Bret Schundler, a former gubernatorial candidate and Jersey City mayor, and the Guardian Angels.
"This is a labor of patriotism," said Broizman, who got the idea for the rally after reading about Fieldsboro online. "This is to me a matter of supporting these young men and women who are in harm's way."
Tyler says that his side of the story is not getting out - and that even when it does, people are not listening.
He spoke Tuesday from Borough Hall, where, he said, he had been stationed for two days, answering angry calls.
He does support the troops, Tyler maintained. But if he allows people to put up yellow ribbons on public property, what's next?
Ever since David and Diane Johnson adorned the borough's welcome sign with the ribbons, spawning the dispute, Tyler has had calls from people asking whether they can now put up Confederate flags, Nazi signs, French and German flags, he said.
"It's a matter of law," the mayor said. "I'm not putting my town on a slippery slope."
Instead, Tyler has put his town - and himself - in the line of fire.
"Emotions are running very high," he said. "People are afraid and angry, and I think they need to vent that. I seem, right now, to be a convenient target."
The situation has been overblown, Councilman Richard Lynch said.
The council conversation about the yellow ribbons that led to the furor "lasted about 10 seconds" and did not involve a vote, Lynch said. The councilman, who said he had received a flurry of calls - "some nice, most not so nice" - said he had no problem with the ribbons as long as they obstructed no signs and posed no public safety risk.
Thousand Oaks, Calif., narrowly escaped Fieldsboro's fate. There, the city ripped down yellow ribbons tied to neighborhood trees by the mother of a Marine stationed in Iraq. A torrent of angry calls to City Hall prompted an immediate apology from the mayor - and permission to replace the ribbons on public property.
In Fieldsboro, the calls are still coming.
Radio talk-show hosts and their callers all over the state have slammed Tyler and his colleagues. One station, WKXW-FM (New Jersey 101.5), sent representatives to Fieldsboro on Friday afternoon to help replace the ribbons that Tyler ordered the Johnsons, owners of Hegyi's Liquor Store, to take down.
Yesterday, those ribbons remained, plus more. And in an act of clear defiance, townspeople had affixed yellow bows to every public place imaginable, including utility poles and fences at school playing fields.
At Hegyi's, the Johnsons were busy fielding calls Tuesday from local and national reporters while waiting on a crew from the British Broadcasting Corp. "They've even seen us in Alaska," Diane Johnson said. "Isn't it a shame it had to be this way?"
She spoke against a backdrop of TV war coverage, while tying bow after bow with pieces of yellow plastic tablecloth after running out of ribbon.
She is giving out her handiwork to all who want it, for placement anywhere.
At this point, Tyler is not going to stop them. He stands by the ban, he said, but "there's no reason to provoke anything. I don't see us in any way creating a confrontation."
What the town would do, Tyler said, is move any ribbons obstructing the words on any signs.
That's just fine, said Tom Woodward, a maintenance worker for the town.
As long as he's not the one to do it. "I want no part of that," he said.
Contact staff writer Jennifer Moroz at 856-779-3810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two events are planned in Fieldsboro to support U.S. troops and protest the borough's ban on yellow ribbons on public property. Both are to be held outside Hegyi's Liquor Store, 72 Union St.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7:30 tonight.
A rally to be attended by the Guardian Angels and former gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler is scheduled for noon Saturday.
2000 population: 522
Area: 0.3 square miles
Median family income: $66,607
Registered Democrats: 169
Registered Republicans: 45
Registered independents: 1
Party undecided: 121
SOURCE: 2000 census, Burlington County Board of Elections