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France. Celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings

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We are all children of D-Day, said French President Emmanuel Macron during Thursday's celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy. About 20 heads of state and 200 veterans of World War II took part in the celebrations.

The leaders of about 20 countries arrived on Thursday at “Omaha Beach” in Normandy, the site of the landing of Allied troops during World War II, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of these events. Presidents, monarchs and prime ministers gathered under canopies on the beach, in front of an arena with signs in French and English: “I did it for you.”

Celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy PAP/EPA

The main theme of the celebrations in Normandy was the sacrifice and sacrifice of soldiers from 80 years ago. The music was intertwined with witness accounts: letters written by soldiers during the war were heard. “Ode to Joy”, performed in two languages: French and German, illustrated the process of rebuilding Europe, reconciliation of its nations after World War II and building the European Union

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About 200 World War II participants, mostly Americans and British, also took part in the celebrations. Veterans were at the center of Thursday's celebrations, warmly welcomed by leaders and ordinary people.

Poland was represented by the president Andrzej Duda. The leaders of about 20 countries, apart from the US president, were invited to the celebration Joe Biden and the president Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, among others. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or the Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz. Among monarchs except the British one King Charles III and Prince William were, among others, King William-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Philip of the Belgians, and King Frederick X of Denmark.

Celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy PAP/EPA

Macron: We are all children of D-Day

– I thank the Ukrainian people for their bravery and love of freedom. We are here – and we will not weaken, said the French president Emmanuel Macron during the main part of the celebration. – We are all children of D-Day – he said, recalling the courage and desire for freedom that drove Allied soldiers in 1944.

Celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy PAP/EPA

He also called for “in the face of the return of war to our continent” and “those who try to change the borders by force and rewrite history” to be worthy of the soldiers fighting in Normandy in 1944.

In his speech, the main theme of which was a common vision of freedom and the fight against Nazi troops, Macron also mentioned the Red Army's fight on the Eastern Front. Russia was not invited to this year's anniversary celebrations due to its aggression against Ukraine. However, the sacrifices made by the Soviet Union in the war against Hitler were commemorated on Thursday with a symbolic gesture – a reclamation of a poem by Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, “The Second Anniversary.”

Three national ceremonies

In the morning, three national ceremonies took place: British, American and Canadian, with the participation of the leaders of these countries. During a ceremony at the British Normandy Memorial, British soldiers were commemorated by King Charles III and Prime Minister Sunak. Justin Trudeau took part in celebrations on “Juno Beach” (Courseulles-sur-Mer) – a stretch of coast that was captured by Canadian forces in June 1944. Biden spoke at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer.

Celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy PAP/EPA

The American leader emphasized that the events at that time were proof of the “steadfast unity” of the allies. He then recalled the reconstruction of post-war Europe and the creation of NATO. He called NATO “the largest military alliance in the history of the world” and assured that the alliance is “more united than ever” and more prepared to maintain peace, deter aggression and defend freedom in the world.

Celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy PAP/EPA

He then spoke of the “endless war between dictatorship and freedom.” He mentioned Ukraine, which – according to him – fell victim to the attack of a “tyrant”. He emphasized that Ukrainians “are fighting with extraordinary courage, suffering great losses.” Biden assured that United States, NATO and a coalition of over 50 countries will stand by Ukraine. – We will never leave it, because if we do, Ukraine will be conquered (…), Ukraine's neighbors will be in danger, as well as the whole of Europe – he said.

Recalling that the soldiers of World War II had fulfilled their duty, he called on them to be worthy of their sacrifices. “Democracy is never guaranteed, every generation must preserve it, defend it and fight for it,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal also participated in the national celebrations. – France will never forget those who died for it – assured Attal during the Canadian ceremony. In a speech at the American cemetery, Macron spoke about the greatness of a nation ready to “die on foreign soil for a cause that was also his cause.”

The French president awarded the Legion of Honor to 11 veterans. Among those honored was 104-year-old British woman Christian Lamb, who served in the auxiliary services Royal Navy and helped in planning the landing.

Zelensky: The Allies defended the freedom of Europe then, and the Ukrainians are doing it now

“I came to Normandy for important events and meetings aimed at strengthening our country and promoting the unity of all who respect human values ​​and life,” wrote the President of Ukraine on social media. Volodymyr Zelensky.

He emphasized that the celebrations in Normandy were a reminder “of the courage and determination shown in the pursuit of freedom and democracy.” “The Allies defended the freedom of Europe then, and the Ukrainians are doing it now. Unity won then, and true unity can also win today,” said the president of Ukraine.

Celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy PAP/EPA

D-Day – June 6, 1944 – was the first day of Operation Overlord, in which the Western Allies from the United States, Great Britain, Canada and other countries gained a foothold in occupied France and established a second front in Europe.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA



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