The Normandy invasion happened fast. While there were many photos taken, and some video, the men on the ships and on the ground and in the air didn’t have much time for sentimentality. That makes the 48-star American flag that flew on the US Navy’s LCC 60 a rare and significant symbol of that fight. And now that flag may be coming back to the US.
The LCC is one of three larger ships that were commanding the smaller landing crafts that deposited soldier off the coast of Utah Beach, near Normandy, France 75 years ago.
The flag is currently in Rotterdam, Netherlands. “Howard Vander Beek, who commanded the vessel as a Navy lieutenant, kept the flag throughout the war, brought it home and kept it in his basement until he died in 2014,” Reuters writes. “It was sold at auction by his family two years later and bought by Dutch collector Bert Kreuk for $514,000.”
Kreuk took it home to the Netherlands. “It was pierced by German machine gun bullets and ripped by the wind,” said Kreuk. “The flag will be going home.”
Kreuk is no stranger to the US. He ran a business here for two decades. Now, he wants to give the flag back to the US, and is asking that Donald Trump come to the Netherlands to personally collect it.
The flag, which was brought to the Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum, has been treated with respect. It was greeted at the museum by numerous soldiers and veterans, and a “military convoy headed by a U.S. Sherman tank,” Reuters notes.
Though the flag is seen as a symbol of the larger fight, it is still an American flag.
“U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands Piet Hoekstra said he has discussed the flag with high-level U.S. government officials,” Reuters adds, “including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
“We are making sure that the White House is aware of this opportunity,” said Hoekstra. “Vander Beek carried it in his backpack across significant parts of Europe until the end of the war. They are all special, this one is maybe a little bit more unique,” Hoekstra said.