Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-day in Normandy.
Hundreds of veterans gathered in France to honor the sacrifice of those who died in the D-Day landings, drawing to a close two days of commemorations. World leaders attended ceremonies honoring Allied forces who fought in the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history. Wreaths were laid, a minute’s silence was held and veterans linked arms and sang, before watching an RAF flypast.
Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron thanked veterans who took part in June 1944. President Donald Trump called former US soldiers “the pride of the nation”. “To the men who sit behind me and to the boys who rest in the field before me,” Mr. Trump said, “your example will never, ever grow old, your legend will never tire, your spirit — brave, unyielding and true — will never die.” There was a lingering incongruity to Mr. Trump’s words: a president who has denigrated the European Union and accused NATO of exploiting American taxpayers was extolling an allied military campaign that was perhaps the greatest demonstration of America’s commitment to a free and peaceful Europe.
It fell to President Emmanuel Macron of France to defend the postwar international order. Speaking before President Trump, he offered thanks to the United States for its wartime sacrifice and conferred the French Legion of Honor on several veterans. Then he paid tribute to the institutions the United States helped create. Mrs. May said she was humbled to be able to mark the moment with veterans, who belonged to a “very special generation”. “A generation whose unconquerable spirit shaped the post-war world. They didn’t boast. They didn’t fuss. They served,” she said.