June 7, 2024

Everything that happened at the key commemorations in Normandy

On the 6th of June 1944, Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in what is to this date the largest sea- and airborne invasion in history, which marked the turning point in the liberation of Europe during the Second World War. This year we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the large-scale D-Day landings carried out by over 150.000 allied soldiers.

The D-Day 80th anniversary at the Normandy American Cemetery  

Multiple ceremonies were held on the 6th of June. Among them, the commemorative ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer. 

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, alongside U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, attended the ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery. President Macron held a speech in front of an audience of war veterans and U.S. military members commemorating the numerous American sacrifices made during D-Day and the subsequent liberation of France. He also awarded the Légion d'Honneur, France's highest decoration, to surviving war veterans. 

The ceremony concluded with President Joe Biden honoring the soldiers' efforts, while Lieutenant Commander Katherine Miyamasu of the U.S. Naval forces Europe/Africa performed a touching rendition of 'The Watch'. 

The international D-Day commemoration at Omaha Beach 

Following the individual ceremonies, an international commemoration of D-Day was held at Omaha Beach with many notable figures present such as Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, United States President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Dutch Royal Family, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and William, Prince of Wales. Other honorable attendees were the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Belgian Royal family, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and the Italian President Sergio Matarella.

The festive ceremony was accompanied by choir performances and personal accounts of D-Day soldiers and war veterans. During a bagpipe performance, parachutists jumped from planes above the ceremonial grounds. Eleven U.S. D-Day veterans were honored with the National Order of the Légion D'Honneur by the Emmanuel Macron.

The French President reminded the audience that “We, today, are all children of the D-Day landings” and that "In the face of those wanting to change borders by force or rewrite history, let us be worthy of the brave men who landed at these beaches”. The ceremony concluded with a stirring rendition of the French National Anthem, "La Marseillaise," as planes painted the French flag in the sky.