On 15 September, a unique American flag carried during D-Day in 1944 arrived at the National Military Museum (NMM) in Soesterberg. The flag was accepted with military ceremony in the presence of Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and about twenty American World War II veterans. The museum has opened an exhibition on the flag which remains untill the end of 2016.
The American 48-star flag was flown on the stern of the US Navy ship LCC 60. This was the leading vessel on 6 June 1944, responsible for directing the invasion fleet and the first American troops to Utah Beach. The Normandy landings were the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe. The commander of the landing craft was US Navy Lieutenant Howard van der Beek, whose father was born in the Netherlands. The flag was in the possession of van der Beek until his death in 2014.
In June this year, a Dutch family acquired the American flag, which was battered by the battle, at an auction. For the family, the flag is a symbol of the sacrifices made by the Allied soldiers for the freedom of Europe. This freedom can never be taken for granted—not then, and not now. The flag is on long-term loan to the National Military Museum (NMM). At the request of the family, the Ministry of Defence has facilitated the arrival of the flag in the Netherlands. The Ministry of Defence would like to show its gratitude for the sacrifices made for our freedom, which are represented by this flag.
The NMM will exhibit the flag in a special way, focusing on the D-Day invasion in Normandy and the symbolism of the American flag. The exhibition will run until the end of this year.