Vet's flag collection grows to nearly 250

Proudly they wave

It started about 20 years ago with a standard 3-foot-by-5-foot American flag.

The collection steadily grew, and today Don Brown and Barbara Daniel proudly display nearly 250 flags in front of their home on Westmont Drive in Martinez for all four of the country's patriotic holidays -- Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day.

Brown is a Vietnam veteran, and he spends about three hours before each holiday carefully setting up his unique tribute to his country.

He said Daniel, his "soulmate," has always supported him, and she gladly helped him continue the American theme inside their home.

"We've just always been patriotic," said Daniel, whose collection of American Santa figurines sits prominently on a shelf just inside the front door. "Just everything's red, white and blue."

Nearly all of the flags have a special significance, including one that lists every unit in the Vietnam War, and the South Carolina and Georgia flags that have flown over their respective state capitol buildings. One of the American flags has been in several local parades, and there is a Delaware state flag that flew in Vietnam for two years before it was sent to Brown by the Delaware State News after he wrote a letter to the governor.

Even the 235 little 3-inch-by-5-inch flags that overflow into the neighbor's yard serve a symbolic purpose. Each year for Independence Day, Brown adds one more as the nation he loves gets another year older.