Ambassador Hoekstra spoke at a ceremony to open an exhibit presenting the first D-Day flag and celebrating 75 years of freedom at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. Minister of Defense Ank Bijleveld also gave remarks along with the flag’s owner, art collector Bert Kreuk. The Rotterdam Philharmonic performed the U.S. and Dutch national anthems.
The exhibit “D-Day flag 75 years. A symbol of freedom” opens February 5 and launches events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day in June. This flag flew on the stern of the American landing craft LCC 60 on June 6, 1944, as the ship led the invasion fleet and the first American troops to Utah Beach. The commander of LCC 60 was Lieutenant Howard Vander Beek, whose father was born in the Netherlands. Vander Beek had the flag in his possession until his death in 2014. After his death, Kreuk purchased the flag as a tribute to his family that perished during the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940. This will be the first time that this D-Day flag will be seen in Rotterdam.
The flag was escorted to the ceremony by three military vehicles. An honor guard of 15 American service members and 40 Dutch service members participated in the moving ceremony.
The exhibit is sponsored by the National Fund for Peace, Freedom, and Veterans Care (vfonds), in collaboration with the National Military Museum, and Bert Kreuk and Theo Schols.
AD: D-Day vlag ceremonieel overgedragen aan de Kunsthal
Hart van Nederland: Amerikaanse D-Day-vlag onder militaire begeleiding naar Kunsthal Rotterdam
DVIDS: American D-Day flag exihibition ceremony
NOS: D-day-vlag met militair eerbetoon onthaald bij Kunsthal Rotterdam
RTV Rijnmond: Amerikaanse soldaten over D-day vlag: ‘Het belichaamt de strijd van de mannen’
RTV Rijnmond: Militairen en minister onthalen D-day-vlag in Rotterdam
De Telegraaf: Bijzondere oorlogsvlag in museum Rotterdam
De Volkskrant: Kunstverzamelaar wil D-Day-vlag schenken aan het Amerikaanse volk