D-Day At 75: Nations Honor Veterans Who Saved The World

OMAHA BEACH, France (AP) — With silent remembrance and respect, nations honored the fallen and the singular bravery of all Allied troops who sloshed through bloodied water to the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago on D-Day, the assault that portended the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich.

French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump praised the soldiers, sailors and airmen, the survivors and those who lost their lives, in powerful speeches Thursday that credited the June 6, 1944, surprise air and sea operation that brought tens of thousands of men to Normandy, each not knowing whether he would survive the day.

“You are the pride of our nation, you are the glory of our republic, and we thank you from the bottom of our heart,” Trump said, of the warriors engaged in the ultimate fight of good against evil in World War II.

Macron praised their courage, generosity and strength of spirit that made them press on “to help men and women they didn’t know, to liberate a land most hadn’t seen before, for no other cause but freedom, democracy.”

He expressed France’s debt to the United States for freeing his country from the reign of the Nazis. Macron awarded five American veterans with the Chevalier of Legion of Honor, France’s highest award.

“We know what we owe to you, veterans, our freedom,” he said, switching from French to English. “On behalf of my nation I just want to say ‘thank you.’”

D-Day was history’s largest air and sea invasion, involving around 160,000 troops on that day itself and many more in the ensuing Battle of Normandy. Of those 73,000 were from the United States, while 83,000 were from Britain and Canada. Troops started landing overnight from the air, then were joined by a massive force by sea on the beaches code-named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword and Gold, carried by 7,000 boats.

The second day of ceremonies moved to France after spirited commemorations a day earlier in Portsmouth, England, the main embarkation point for the transport boats.

Leaders, veterans, their families and the grateful from France, Europe and elsewhere were present for the solemn day that began under a radiant sun.

At dawn, hundreds of people, civilians and military alike, hailing from around the world, gathered at the water’s edge to remember the troops who stormed the fortified Normandy beaches to help turn the tide of the war and give birth to a new Europe.

Dick Jansen, 60, from the Netherlands, drank Canadian whisky from an enamel cup on the water’s edge. Others scattered carnations into the waves. Randall Atanay, the son of a medic who tended to the dying and wounded, waded barefoot into the water near Omaha Beach, where the waters ran red on D-Day.

Up to 12,000 people gathered hours later at the ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, where Macron and Trump spoke. U.S. veterans, their numbers fast diminishing as years pass, were the guests of honor.

A 21-gun salute thundered into the waters below the cemetery, on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, and across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David. The final resting places of more than 9,380 of the fallen stretched out before the guests.

Britain’s Prince Charles, his wife, Camilla, and Prime Minister Theresa May attended a remembrance service at the medieval cathedral in Bayeux, the first Normandy town liberated by Allied troops after D-Day. Cardinal Marc Ouellet read a message from Pope Francis honoring those who “gave their lives for freedom and peace.”

Hundreds of people packed the seaside square in the town of Arromanches to applaud veterans of the Battle of Normandy. A wreath was placed outside the town’s D-Day Museum.

At daybreak, a lone piper played in Mulberry Harbor, exactly 75 years after British troops came ashore at Gold Beach.

D-Day was history’s largest air and sea invasion, involving around 160,000 troops on that day itself and many more in the ensuing Battle of Normandy. Of those 73,000 were from the United States, while 83,000 were from Britain and Canada. Troops started landing overnight from the air, then were joined by a massive force by sea on the beaches code-named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword and Gold, carried by 7,000 boats.

The second day of ceremonies moved to France after spirited commemorations a day earlier in Portsmouth, England, the main embarkation point for the transport boats.

Leaders, veterans, their families and the grateful from France, Europe and elsewhere were present for the solemn day that began under a radiant sun.

At dawn, hundreds of people, civilians and military alike, hailing from around the world, gathered at the water’s edge to remember the troops who stormed the fortified Normandy beaches to help turn the tide of the war and give birth to a new Europe.

Dick Jansen, 60, from the Netherlands, drank Canadian whisky from an enamel cup on the water’s edge. Others scattered carnations into the waves. Randall Atanay, the son of a medic who tended to the dying and wounded, waded barefoot into the water near Omaha Beach, where the waters ran red on D-Day.

Up to 12,000 people gathered hours later at the ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, where Macron and Trump spoke. U.S. veterans, their numbers fast diminishing as years pass, were the guests of honor.

A 21-gun salute thundered into the waters below the cemetery, on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, and across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David. The final resting places of more than 9,380 of the fallen stretched out before the guests.

Britain’s Prince Charles, his wife, Camilla, and Prime Minister Theresa May attended a remembrance service at the medieval cathedral in Bayeux, the first Normandy town liberated by Allied troops after D-Day. Cardinal Marc Ouellet read a message from Pope Francis honoring those who “gave their lives for freedom and peace.”

Hundreds of people packed the seaside square in the town of Arromanches to applaud veterans of the Battle of Normandy. A wreath was placed outside the town’s D-Day Museum.

At daybreak, a lone piper played in Mulberry Harbor, exactly 75 years after British troops came ashore at Gold Beach.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. (PHOTO: AP/Alex Brandon)

Newsletter

Local Weather