U.S. president Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron praised veterans and highlighted the spirit of cooperation among allied nations as they commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day offensive that led to the defeat of the Nazis and the eventual end of World War II.
They spoke at a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer where more than 9,000 U.S. soldiers are buried.
Macron honored those who sacrificed their lives and fought to free France, saying the operation changed the future of both Europe and the world. He made his remarks in French, but at one point switched to English as he turned to a group of veterans seated behind him.
"We know what we owe to you veterans: our freedom," Macron told them. "On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you."
After his speech, Macron awarded France's Legion of Honor to five U.S. veterans.
In his address, Trump honored those who "sacrificed their lives for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty."
"Today, we remember those who fell and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization," Trump said.
His address also continued a theme of solidarity with allies who have been commemorating the anniversary this week.
"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. Our bond is unbreakable," Trump said.
The commemorations in France follow ceremonies Wednesday across the English Channel in southern Britain.
More than a dozen world leaders, including Trump, Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Britain's Queen Elizabeth to extol the bravery of the young troops who were part of what is still history's largest amphibious attack — 7,000 ships and landing craft headed across the English Channel to confront the Germans.
Source : VOA