Lead singer, Martin Smith wrote the song after being inspired by a news report from Northern Ireland that he had seen in early 1996. The report informed about casualties in the area. It mentioned a group of people who had adopted white ribbons as a symbol of hope. The report included the phrase "The people pray for white ribbon day". This line was included in the lyrics of the song.
In light of the events of September 11, 2001, the song was released as a free download on the band's website. Martin Smith remarked that it was "not an attempt to gain popularity in light of the terrible events, but rather a change in the band's short-term plans."