HISTORY OF THE FREEDOM FLAG
On the evening of September 20, 2001, Richard Melito sat in his restaurant in Richmond, Virginia and sketched a symbol commemorating the events which occurred nine days earlier. His intention was to create a symbol for display on the wall within his establishment that would always remind his patrons of the tragedy and triumph of September 11, 2001. Sixteen months later the Freedom Flag became a part of Virginia history when it was designated by Executive Order the state’s official symbol of remembrance honoring the victims and heroes of 9/11 by then Governor Mark Warner. Raising the Freedom Flag has become part of the traditional Patriot Day observation in schools throughout the Commonwealth. The Freedom Flag Project calls for schools to formalize an annual tradition of raising and flying the Freedom Flag below the American Flag on September 11th, creating a unique reminder to current and future generations of the victims, heroes, and survivors of that day.
The Freedom Flag Foundation, formed in 2002, is a non-profit organization with an active operating board made up of Richmonders, who are united in the cause of advancing the Freedom Flag Project. In order to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and to generate renewed momentum for the Freedom Flag Project, the Foundation is currently in the process of a $2 million fundraising process to construct and maintain the Virginia 9/11 Memorial. The memorial will be located in Henrico County, Virginia, where the design for the Freedom Flag originated. In addition, the Freedom Flag Foundation has developed a substantial network of support through its relationships with many state and national educational associations and organizations. Numerous local, state and national government leaders have embraced the message of the Freedom Flag.
With your involvement and support, we can move forward to provide the Nation’s school children the same learning experience available to students in Virginia, thus keeping the promise to honor the memories of 9/11 and teach a rising generation about the rights, obligations, and duties of citizenship in the United States of America. Together, we can transform the aftermath of September 11, 2001, into a positive learning experience that will empower our children as they become tomorrow’s leaders.
The Freedom Flag Foundation is a non-profit public charity created to oversee the distribution of the Freedom Flag into schools, colleges, and universities and to work toward establishing an annual tradition of remembrance within the educational community that honors the victims, heroes, and survivors of September 11, 2001.
The Freedom Flag Foundation was first envisioned in November of 2001. This was a direct result of a recognized interest in the flag by the educational community. It became apparent that the Freedom Flag had a significant visceral effect on teachers who viewed it and requested copies of their own for use in their classrooms. This recognized acceptance and popularity of the Freedom Flag allowed Richard Melito, the flag's designer, to expand on his purpose for the flag. By December 2001 it seemed obvious that the flag would need a vehicle through which its purpose could be directed. Groundwork began in January of 2002 for the formation of a non-profit foundation with an appropriate mission statement and goals to support its mission. The Freedom Flag Foundation was registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia in May of 2002 and received its initial status as a non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service in November of 2002. The Freedom Flag Foundation currently operates with non-profit status (its 501c3 re-application to IRS pending) and is comprised entirely of volunteers who reside in the metro Richmond area.
The Foundation generates revenue through donations and sales of Freedom Flags and related memorabilia. Funds are used by the Foundation to purchase inventory, administer the National Freedom Flag and World Trade Center Steel Educational Program, produce print materials, and offset some operational expenses.