WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Shot through by German machine gun bullets and tattered by the wind, an American flag that flew on the first U.S. invading ship on D-Day came home on Thursday in a White House ceremony.
The flag handover was a main part of the visit to the White House by Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, who held Oval Office talks with President Donald Trump.
The flag has been owned by retired Dutch businessman and art collector Bert Kreuk, who paid $514,000 for it at auction three years ago with the intention of donating it to the United States.
“I cannot keep it myself. It needs to go to the right institution. I need to give it back,” Kreuk said in a telephone interview ahead of the ceremony, at which he spoke.
The flag is to be put on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
The 48-star flag was on the U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Control 60, which was one of three advance ships directing troops onto Utah Beach on the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944.
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