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Photos: 80th anniversary of D-Day is remembered in Normandy


U.S. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte Macron, walk on stage during ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

OMAHA BEACH, France (AP) — As young soldiers, they waded through breaking waves and gunfire to battle the Nazis. Now bent with age, the dwindling number of World War II veterans joined a new generation of leaders on Thursday to honor the dead, the living and the fight for democracy on the shores where they landed 80 years ago on D-Day.

The D-Day ceremonies mark the 80th anniversary since the launch of ‘Operation Overlord’, a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany.

The war in Ukraine shadowed the ceremonies in Normandy, a grim modern-day example of lives and cities that are again suffering through war in Europe. Ukraine’s president was greeted with a standing ovation and cheers. Russia, a crucial World War II ally whose full-scale invasion of its smaller neighbor in 2022 set Europe on a new path of war, was not invited.

Around 200 veterans attended this year’s event, the youngest in their 90s and some over 100.

The commemorations for the more than 4,400 Allied dead on D-Day and many tens of thousands more, including French civilians, killed in the ensuing Battle of Normandy were tinged with fear that World War II lessons are fading.

“There are things worth fighting for,” said Walter Stitt, who fought in tanks and turns 100 in July, as he visited Omaha Beach this week. “Although I wish there was another way to do it than to try to kill each other.”

“We’ll learn one of these days, but I won’t be around for that,” he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte Macron, walk on stage during ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 
WWII veterans arrive for a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 
Parachutists perform as they descend to Utah Beach on June 6, 2024, as part of the “D-Day” commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 80th anniversary since the launch of ‘Operation Overlord’, a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images) 
WW II veteran attends an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024 at the US cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. Normandy is hosting various events to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) 
US soldiers attend a wreath laying ceremony at the 1st Infantry Division Monument as part of ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Tuesday, June 4, 2024 near Omaha Beach, Normandy. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez) 
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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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