President Donald J. Trump welcomed Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte to the White House today, where the President accepted an incredible gift.
“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.”
Watch: “It is my honor to welcome this great American flag back home.”
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.
???? Watch: The Netherlands present America with a historic D-Day flag.