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As one of the most important events of World War II, the Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944 signaled a momentum gain for the Allied Forces. Nearly 160,000 American, British, Canadian troops landed and gained a crucial foothold in continental Europe, bearing with them flags of their home nations. The beaches and surrounding villages would later become a harbor for offloading critical supplies to the Allied troops in Europe.
“They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation in a prayer read over the radio on the night of June 6, 1944.
In the upcoming Rock Island Auction Company two-day Premier auction, an American Flag flown in the battle at Gold Beach will be sold to the highest bidder. Estimates for this incredibly historic item range from $250,000 to $375,000. The auction will take place September 8 – 9 and will feature more than 2,600 lots of antique and modern firearms, and several historical artifacts from World War II.
This flag flew from the mast of LCI(L)-421, a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Infantry ship capable of carrying 200 soldiers directly onto the beach. The ship was among three LCI (400, 421, and 511) to transport the 56th Infantry Brigade to the D-Day Landing on Gold Beach. It was the personal belonging of Steve Hudac, the coxswain or steersman of the LCI(L)-421. It has an extensive history file of Mr. Hudac’s service, connection to the ship, and participation at the Normandy Landings.
The flag, now more than 70 years old, displays 48 stars and the marks of age. It is tattered by high winds, discoloration, and the stress of the battlefield. It has been the personal possession of Mr. Hudac until his death in 1996, when ownership was transferred to his sister-in-law Marcia and her husband.