This is ‘the most valuable Second World War battle flag ever sold’. The Dutch buyer who bought this epic flag at Heritage Auctions on 12 June 2016, paying a premium-inclusive $514,000, has loaned the 48 Star Flag to the National Military Museum in Soesterberg, the Netherlands, as ATG reported.
It was flown from the stern of Landing Craft Control 60 on June 6, 1944, as it undertook the heroic solo mission to lead the storming of Utah Beach, site of the very first Allied emergence from the sea. For over six decades, the battle-scarred banner was retained as the sole war souvenir of U.S. Navy Lieutenant Howard Vander Beek, the skipper of the tiny guide boat that, by fate or by the will of a higher power, found itself the lead vessel of history's greatest war fleet.
Vander Beek, who would survive the delivery of nineteen assault waves to Utah Beach that most perilous day to become an English professor after the war, wrote beautifully of the moments just before H-Hour-the designated 0630 start time for the charge to the beach--in his memoir of his war experiences entitled Aboard the LCC 60: Normandy and Southern France, 1944.
A flag is, after all, a symbol by its very nature, and thus more capable than nearly any other artifact in embodying the significance of the moment it inhabits. And this flag, the one that flew at the vanguard of history's greatest invasion, is quite simply one of the most important battle flags that exists, in hands either public or private. In its heroic service in leading the liberators of Europe to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, this is a flag that validates the truth of all that we wish an American flag to represent: freedom, valor, and our promise to the world that tyranny cannot stand against the irresistible force of American will.