Biden meets with US World War II veterans as he and allies mark 80th anniversary of D-Day in France

President Biden and top U.S. allies were in Normandy on Thursday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Nazi-occupied France by U.S.-led allied forces. The brazen air and sea invasion would mark the beginning of the end of World War II, leading to the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi German forces in Europe less than a year later.

Mr Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were together to celebrate the Western allies’ most significant victory in the war, as well as the largest maritime invasion in history . Mr Biden is in France over the weekend for commemorations of the D-Day anniversary and plans to meet the leaders of key allies during his visit.

“Seventy-three thousand brave Americans landed on the beaches of Utah and Omaha in Normandy on June 6, 1944, and the President will greet American veterans and their family members during their stay in France to honor their sacrifice.” , said Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary. .by announcing the president’s trip.

Mr. Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with World War II veterans one by one before a memorial ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery on Thursday, presenting each with coins made to commemorate the D-Day anniversary. He discussed and joked with some of the men, asked them about their hometowns, thanked them for their service and called them the greatest generation of all time.

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden speak with a U.S. World War II veteran as they attend the U.S. ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II “D-Day” Allied landings in Normandy, in the north of France, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville. -sur-Mer, which overlooks Omaha Beach, in northwest France, June 6, 2024.


The president was scheduled to deliver remarks later Thursday at a commemoration ceremony also attended by members of Congress from both parties, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi.

The D-Day operation of June 6, 1944, codenamed OVERLORD, sent five naval assault divisions to the beaches of Normandy, France. The invasion included 7,000 ships and landing craft operated by more than 195,000 sailors. More than 130,000 American, British and allied troops landed on the shores. Many others followed and their efforts contributed to the defeat of the German Nazi forces.

Mr Biden planned to give a speech on Friday at the cliffs of Point du Hoc in Normandy, which would highlight the men who climbed those cliffs 80 years ago, democracy and the “dangers of isolationism”, said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. In his speech, the president will draw a line from World War II and the formation of NATO to today, when war haunts Europe again, Sullivan said.

On Saturday, the festivities will continue as Mr. Biden takes part in a procession to the Elysée. And on Sunday, the president will lay a wreath at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, where World War I veterans are buried.

A British military police unit parades down the Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe during the VE Day celebration in Paris, France, Sunday, May 12, 1946. (AP Photo)


Among the allies, Mr. Biden will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in France, while Ukraine continues to suffer from Russia’s attacks.

The president is expected to have an “in-depth discussion” with Macron on a range of issues, including the Middle East, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, technology and clean energy, Sullivan said. Macron and Mr. Biden are expected to make a joint press appearance on Saturday, and Macron is hosting a state dinner for the president and first lady on Saturday.

World War II veterans visiting the beaches of Normandy, France

Young Veterans Forever

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump pulled out of the Normandy trip to commemorate the D-Day anniversary while in Paris, citing bad weather, a decision that drew sharp criticism.

Kristin Brown contributed to this report

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