Diablo Valley Flag Brigade is a non-profit 9-11 tribute organization, dedicated to the remembrance of all those who died on that terrible day of Sept, 11th. 2001. Since that day, we have been gathering on the 11th to pay tribute for the fallen and their loved ones.
On Dec. 24th. 2005, Christmas eve, we started a tradition of honoring our returning service members by organizing an event known as “Operation Welcome Home”, a celebration to show our support and recognition for their service to our country. We invite members of their city government, police, fire, VSO’s such as Blue Star Moms, VFW posts, American Legion members, military families groups, community groups, family members and neighbors. We work with motorcycle groups like the Warrior Watch Riders to escort the service member home to a surprise “Welcome Home!”
During the Viet Nam era, many of our vets were treated poorly and with disrespect; though there’s nothing we can do about the past, we can change that thinking in the future. We feel it’s the “right thing to do” and it’s the least we can do as civilians to support those who serve.
What Is Operation Welcome Home?
We started on Christmas Eve 05’, when we were asked to celebrate the homecoming of six service members, all from Moraga. A Blue Star Mom suggested that since we have so many 9-11 flags, why we don’t present each service member with a flag, with a gold ribbon, and a postcard of thanks. That was the first welcome home flag presentation, since then, we have teamed up with many other groups, thus making the welcome home celebration a huge success.
Our welcome home flag is 100% American made, “Valley Forge” The cost is about $10.00 ea. We have a printer at a sports store that charges $4.00 per flag to silk screen our “never forget 9-11” on them. Richards Crafts in Alamo also thinks what we are doing is great; they sell us silk like ribbon at near cost, about 50 cents per flag. The postcards are beautiful pictures of our 9-11 events, filled out on the back, with thanks to the service-member; we put thirty, to fifty, in each flag that we present. The total cost of each presentation flag is about $18-20.00.
We organize our welcome home celebration thru the WWR, and other motorcycle groups, when they escort the service member home; we bring the Mayor or counsel-member, PD, Fire, Veterans groups, Boy Scouts, Girl scouts etc., we then hold a celebration at their home. We put up a huge 10×15’ American Flag, and all our banners of “Welcome Home Soldier” with flags all down the street,
It is truly a memorable event for the service member and the family.
In 2008 we have presented over 130 flags that number has doubled since 07’. We rely totally on donations to fund our costs every year. In 09’ and 2010, we have presented over 300 flags! Some groups donate $200.00, some individuals donate $20.00 without the support of very generous people, and the welcome home flag would surely end.
Past year’s donations came from: VSO groups throughout the Bay Area, BSM’s, VFW Posts, VNVDV, some of the welcome home parents and many more.