'First American flag planted at Omaha Beach' goes up for auction

'First American flag planted at Omaha Beach' goes up for auction
Copyright Courtesy of Heritage Auctions/Handout via REUTERS
By Euronews with Reuters
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Online bidding has already reached $55,000 (€49,000).


The first US flag believed to have been planted at Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings in World War II is expected to rake more than $55,000 (€49,000) at an auction.

The flag — adorned with distinctive gold fringes — was carried along the French coastline by First Sergeant John E. Horvath, a bartender from Columbus, Ohio, who enlisted in the war in 1942 and became an army engineer, according to Heritage Auctions, the Dallas-based auction house overseeing the private sale.

Horvath, in his 30s, survived the battle and sent the flag along with a letter to his newlywed wife.

"Take care of the flag. It's the first which went up on the beachhead, two hours after the invasion started. I had to use my tent pole to raise it," wrote Horvath in the letter.

The flag became public with a newspaper clipping "First Flag on Beachhead in Normandy Arrives Here as Souvenir of Battle", which featured Horvath's wife posing next to Old Glory. Heritage Auctions said the clipping, which was trimmed of newspaper mastheads, is believed to have been published on August 23, 1944, in The Columbus Citizen-Journal.

The newspaper clipping is also being auctioned.

Once Horvath returned home he, like many soldiers who return to civilian life after combat, suffered from depression and alcohol addiction and died between 1961-1962 from a stroke.

His nephew inherited the war hero's historic items, as well as Horvath's Purple Heart and Good Conduct medal, which are also up for auction.

On Tuesday, the latest online bid was at $55,000 (€49,000), $5,000 more than the pre-estimate, and is expected to fetch more bids from collectors ahead of the 9 June auction closing.

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