D-Day veterans join leaders of the U.S., France, Britain, and Canada in Normandy to mark 75th anniversary

WWII enthusiasts mark D-Day in Normandy
(Image credit: Federico Scoppa/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when 160,000 U.S. and Allied troops stormed five Nazi-held beaches in Normandy, France, in the largest combined air, sea, and land operation in history. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron dedicated a memorial to the 22,442 British troops who died at Normandy. "It's almost impossible to grasp the raw courage it must have taken that day to leap from landing craft and into the surf despite the fury of battle," May said.

Later, President Trump took part in a French-U.S. ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, where 9,388 American military dead are buried. At the U.S. cemetery, above Omaha Beach, Macron will award the Legion of Honor, France's highest honor, to five U.S. World War II veterans. "To all of our friends and partners: Our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war, and proven in the blessings of peace," Trump said. "Our bond is unbreakable." After the ceremony, Trump and Macron will have a working lunch in Caen, near the memorial site in Colleville-sur-Mer.

Britain's Prince Charles, May, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended a memorial service Thursday morning at Bayeux Cathedral; Cardinal Marc Ouellet read a message from Pope Francis, who said D-Day was "decisive in the fight against Nazi barbarism" and paid tribute to the service members who "gave their lives for freedom and peace." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also in Normandy for the commemoration, as are about 35 World War II veterans who participated in D-Day, which helped turn the tide of World War II. This will be one of the last D-Day ceremonies with living WWII veterans.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.