American Flag Comes Home

 In History

On July 18, President Trump accepted a flag that was aboard the first ship to carry US service members to the beaches of Normandy. The Dutch Prime Minister, Matt Rutte, presented the flag to the United States on behalf of a Dutch collector. It is destined for the Smithsonian as a remembrance of D-Day. An American flag comes home.

The White House statement read:

Today, on behalf of the American people, I will receive an American flag that flew aboard a ship carrying the first waves of United States service members to land in Normandy,” President Trump said. “Seventy-five years after that momentous day,” this great piece of American history is “back home where it belongs.”

This 48-Star banner is an important symbol of perhaps the most storied military victory for the free world. On June 6, 1944, the flag President Trump received today flew aboard Landing Craft Control 60 as it approached Normandy. The ship was commanded by a young Navy lieutenant, two days shy of his 27th birthday, named Howard Vander Beek.

“Amid treacherous German minefields, raging winds, and rough seas, Lieutenant Vander Beek and his crew led an astonishing 19 waves of American troops and equipment to those very, very dangerous beaches,” the President explained. “Through it all, this flag soared proudly above the waters of the English Channel, announcing the arrival of our American warriors.”

After the D-Day mission was complete, Lt. Vander Beek carried the flag with him through the end of the war. It stayed in his possession until he passed away in 2014. 

Today, this same flag—which still bears scars from German gunfire and stains from American blood—is being returned home, where it will be on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

“It will always be a reminder of the supreme sacrifice of our warriors, and the beautiful friendship between the Dutch and the American people,” President Trump said.

That close partnership continues today, as the United States and the Netherlands work to meet security challenges head-on. Whether it’s efforts to defeat ISIS or support NATO’s forward presence in the Baltics and Poland, both nations’ forces stand together.

The flag flew from the stern of LCC 60. It’s worn now, its fabric stained with diesel fuel and oil, its edges frayed. The hole in the field of 48 stars is said to have come from a German machine gun.

The Dayton Daily News reported,

After Vander Beek died, his family sold the flag in an estate sale for $514,000. Dutch businessman Bert Kreuk and his uncle and business partner, Theo Schols, bought it with the idea of donating it back to the United States.

An American flag comes home, a forever reminder of the sacrifices of D-Day.

Here is the full ceremony, including the announcement of the incident in the Strait of Hormuz:

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