Flags in the news: D-Day flag comes home
The bullet holes are plain to the eye from a photographer’s distance, as is the tattered ends of a weathered, embroidered cloth that represents one of the poignant and harrowing days in American and human history.
The 48 white, five-pointer stars are still visible on the fading blue field, just as the stars shone for those Americans and their allies who survived -- and especially those who died -- 75 years ago. America arrived on the Western European front and began the frontal assault that would, less than a year later, help lead in the end of World War II in Europe.
The 48-star spangled banner -- Alaska and Hawaii were still 15 years from receiving statehood -- flew on U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Control 60, one of three advance ships to cross the English Channel to land soldiers at Utah Beach on the Normandy shore on June 6, 1944, was handed over to the United States and President Donald Trump on Thursday when Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte visited the White House.
“It is my honor to welcome this great American flag back home where it belongs,” Trump said during a ceremony, a “reminder of the supreme sacrifice of our warriors and the beautiful friendship between the Dutch and the American people.”
According to Reuters and other reports, Rutte came in possession of the flag through Dutch businessman and art collector Bert Kreuk, who was also in attendance at the White House ceremony. Kreuk paid $514,000 at auction for it three years with the intention of handing it back to the U.S.
Kreuk said in an interview prior to the hand-off: “For many of you, this will be the first time that you will see the flag,” but for many on D-Day, “it was the last time.”
The LCC 60, under the command of Lieutenant Howard Vander Beek commanded, was the only one of the three ships in that initial wave to complete its mission that day. Vander Beek brought the flag home to Iowa and kept it in his basement until his death in 2014.
The flag will be displayed at the Smithsonian Institute.
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