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Leaders attend D-Day 70th anniversary ceremonies

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 06.06.2014 12:18
Polish President Borisław Komorowski joined 18 world leaders, Friday, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, northern France.

President Komorowski joins leaders at ceremony at Sword Beech, Nornandy: photo - Jacek Turczyk/PAP

President Komorowski’s trip began with a commemorative visit to Hill 262, sight of the Battle of Mont Ormel, where the Polish First Armored Division fought off Nazi German forces to secure a victory over the land.

Around 3 pm, he participated in the main festivities of the day located on one of the beaches used for Allied landings.

President Komorowski talks with Polish veterans at D-Day celebrations: photo - PAP/Jacek Turczyk

He then joined French President Francois Hollande later in the afternoon for a service at the Polish cemetery, Urville-Langannerie.

The service is being held to honor the 615 soldiers of the First Armored Division of General Stanislaw Maczka buried there.

US President Barack Obama gives a speech praising the courage of the ones who fell during D-Day and are buried at the US cemetery in Colleville, during the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings on D-Day, in Colleville, France, 06 June: photo - EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama arrived on the shore of Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-Mer, France by Marine One to join Hollande in giving a speech commemorating the 9,387 US soldiers perished during the attack.

“Gentlemen, we are truly humbled by your presence here today,” Obama paid tribute to the troops followed by rounds of applause in honor of the veterans present at the ceremony.

After thanking the nation of France, Obama said, “It was here, on these shores, that the tide was turned.”

He later continued, “Our victory in that war shaped the security and well-being for all posterity.”

Vladimir Putin with Angela Merkel at D-Day celebrations: photo - Jacek Turczyk/PAP

While the D-Day Anniversary and commemorations are the clear priority of this event, the looming and inescapable issue is the Ukraine crisis with so many of the key players gathered in one central location.

Obama acknowledged that if he is in fact given the opportunity to speak with President Putin, he will continue the dialogue that he has held to consistently throughout the crisis. That is that Russia must begin de-escalation and change their course.

Other honorary guests in attendance at the commemorative festivities include 3,000 veterans and some 15 other national leaders including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and German Chancelor Angela Merkel.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) meets veterans following a British D-Day commemoration ceremony in Bayeux cemetery , France, 06 June: photo - EPA/LEON NEA

It was 70 years ago today on June 6, 1944 that over 150,000 US, Canadian, and British troops invaded Nazi forces stationed on the beaches of Normandy, France in the largest seaborne attack in military history.

A British D-Day veteran walks through rows of graves before a service of remembrance at Bayeux Cemetery in Bayeux, Normandy, France, 06 June, 2014. World leaders are gathering in Normandy 06 June to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. More than 75,000 British Canadian and other Commonwealth Troops landed on the beaches of Normandy on 06 June 1944 alongside the United States and the Free French, in an Allied invasion of more than 130,000: photo - EPA/ANDY RAIN

The Invasion of Normandy, or D-Day, proved to be significant as Allied forces secured a victory that ultimately became the turning point of World War II in Europe. Eleven months later, Nazi Germany was defeated. (sm/pg)

tags: D-Day
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