Photo: Nationaal Militair Museum

A unique American flag used during D-Day in 1944 will arrive at the National Military Museum in the Netherlands on Sept. 15.

Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will accept the flag during a military ceremony in the presence of about 20 American World War II veterans. The museum will also open an exhibition featuring the flag on this day.

The 48-star American flag was flown on the stern of the US Navy ship LCC 60, which sailed on June 6, 1944, in the front row of the invasion fleet with the crucial task of directing American troops to Utah Beach. The Normandy landings were the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe. US Navy Lieutenant Howard van der Beek, whose father was born in the Netherlands, commanded the landing craft.

A Dutch family bought the war-torn American flag at an auction in June 2016 as a symbol of the sacrifices Allied soldiers made to liberate Europe. This freedom can never be taken for granted — not then and not now. Dutch and American men and women have fought side-by-side in many conflicts around the world, contributing to stability and promoting peace.

Flag on long-term loan

The flag is on long-term loan to the National Military Museum, which is located in the town of Soesterberg in the Utrecht province of the Netherlands.

At the request of the family, the Ministry of Defense will facilitate the arrival of the flag in the Netherlands. The Ministry of Defense would like to show its gratitude for the sacrifices made for our freedom and represented by this flag.

The flag will arrive at 2:45 p.m. Sept. 15 by Chinook helicopter at the museum on the runway of the former airbase Soesterberg.

An honor guard of American and Dutch soldiers will march with the flag. It will then be handed over by Defense Minister Hennis-Plasschaert, in the presence of the family that purchased the flag, to the director of the National Military Museum, Mrs. Hedwig Saam.

The National Military Museum 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.