An American Flag That Led US Troops To Normandy On D-Day Is Finally Coming Home After 75 Years

History
U.S. ambassador Pete Hoekstra unveils an American flag from Navy ship LCC 60 that led the U.S. invasion fleet at Normandy's Utah Beach, during the 75th anniversary of the D-Day flag in Rotterdam, Netherlands, February 4, 2019. (Reuters/Eva Plevier)

ROTTERDAM (Reuters) - A rare D-Day flag that flew on a U.S. Navy ship leading the allied advance at the beaches of Normandy nearly 75 years ago will be returned to America after going on display in the Netherlands on Monday.


The 48-star "Normandy" flag was on the U.S. Navy's LCC 60, one of just three advanced fleet vessels directing troops onto Utah Beach in German-occupied France on June 6, 1944.

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. It was sold at auction by his family two years later and bought by Dutch collector Bert Kreuk for $514,000.

"It was pierced by German machine gun bullets and ripped by the wind," said Kreuk. "The flag will be going home."

Kreuk, who ran a business in the United States for 20 years, wants to donate it to the American people and hopes that U.S. President Donald Trump will come pick it up in the Netherlands.

Dozens of U.S. and Dutch soldiers stood at attention as the tattered flag, stained by diesel fumes and dirt, arrived at Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum in a military convoy headed by a U.S. Sherman tank.

Rotterdam's orchestra played "Fanfare for the Common Man", written in 1942 by U.S. composer Aaron Copland, as the flag was laid into a display case by soldiers.

U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands Piet Hoekstra said he has discussed the flag with high-level U.S. government officials, 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.

The flag will be on display in Rotterdam until Feb. 17.

SEE ALSO: One Veteran Is On A Mission To Replace Worn American Flags

WATCH NEXT: World War II Newsreels Are The Best

It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.

Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.

The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.

Read More Show Less
Chris Osman (Photo: _chris_osman_designs/Instagram)

The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.

"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland)

GREENBELT, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing a cache of weapons and plotting to attack Democratic politicians and journalists was ordered held for two weeks on Thursday while federal prosecutors consider charging him with more crimes.

Read More Show Less
Former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis (DoD photo)

A Richland, Washington city councilman thinks native son Jim Mattis would make a terrific governor or even president.

Read More Show Less
An undated image of Hoda Muthana provided by her attorney, Hassan Shibly. (Associated Press)

Attorneys for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump asking the court to recognize the citizenship of an Alabama woman who left the U.S. to join ISIS and allow she and her young son to return to the United States.

Read More Show Less