Home News Photos: 80th anniversary of D-Day is remembered in Normandy

Photos: 80th anniversary of D-Day is remembered in Normandy

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OMAHA BEACH, France (AP) — As young soldiers, they waded through breaking waves and gunfire to battle the Nazis. Now bent with age, the dwindling number of World War II veterans joined a new generation of leaders on Thursday to honor the dead, the living and the fight for democracy on the shores where they landed 80 years ago on D-Day.

The D-Day ceremonies mark the 80th anniversary since the launch of ‘Operation Overlord’, a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany.

The war in Ukraine shadowed the ceremonies in Normandy, a grim modern-day example of lives and cities that are again suffering through war in Europe. Ukraine’s president was greeted with a standing ovation and cheers. Russia, a crucial World War II ally whose full-scale invasion of its smaller neighbor in 2022 set Europe on a new path of war, was not invited.

Around 200 veterans attended this year’s event, the youngest in their 90s and some over 100.

The commemorations for the more than 4,400 Allied dead on D-Day and many tens of thousands more, including French civilians, killed in the ensuing Battle of Normandy were tinged with fear that World War II lessons are fading.

“There are things worth fighting for,” said Walter Stitt, who fought in tanks and turns 100 in July, as he visited Omaha Beach this week. “Although I wish there was another way to do it than to try to kill each other.”

“We’ll learn one of these days, but I won’t be around for that,” he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte Macron, walk on stage during ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 
WWII veterans arrive for a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WWII veterans arrive for a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 
Parachutists perform as they descend to Utah Beach on June 6, 2024, as part of the "D-Day" commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 80th anniversary since the launch of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Parachutists perform as they descend to Utah Beach on June 6, 2024, as part of the “D-Day” commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 80th anniversary since the launch of ‘Operation Overlord’, a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images) 
WW II veteran attends an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024 at the US cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. Normandy is hosting various events to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
WW II veteran attends an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024 at the US cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. Normandy is hosting various events to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) 
US soldiers attend a wreath laying ceremony at the 1st Infantry Division Monument as part of ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Tuesday, June 4, 2024 near Omaha Beach, Normandy. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)
US soldiers attend a wreath laying ceremony at the 1st Infantry Division Monument as part of ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Tuesday, June 4, 2024 near Omaha Beach, Normandy. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez) 
US WWII veteran Harold Terens, 100, left, and Jeanne Swerlin, 96, arrive to celebrate their wedding at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, in Normandy, northwestern France, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was nearly 200. But Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love is eternal as they tied the knot Saturday inland of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)
US WWII veteran Harold Terens, 100, left, and Jeanne Swerlin, 96, arrive to celebrate their wedding at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, in Normandy, northwestern France, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was nearly 200. But Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love is eternal as they tied the knot Saturday inland of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez) 
WWII veterans arrive for a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WWII veterans arrive for a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 
WW II veteran attends an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024 at the US cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. Normandy is hosting various events to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
WW II veteran attends an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024 at the US cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. Normandy is hosting various events to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) 
French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech during an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024. World leaders are gathered Thursday in France to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech during an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024. World leaders are gathered Thursday in France to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) 
King Charles III bids farewell to Brigitte Macron as Queen Camilla looks on during the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion's commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 06, 2024 in Ver-Sur-Mer, France. Normandy is hosting various events across significant sites such as Pegasus Bridge, Sainte-Mère-Église, and Pointe du Hoc, to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
King Charles III bids farewell to Brigitte Macron as Queen Camilla looks on during the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion’s commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 06, 2024 in Ver-Sur-Mer, France. Normandy is hosting various events across significant sites such as Pegasus Bridge, Sainte-Mère-Église, and Pointe du Hoc, to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images) 
Normandy veterans 104-year-old John Gillespie (C-L) and 99-year-old Simeon Mayou (C-R) attend a service commemorating Normandy veterans at the Normandy Memorial at The National Arboretum on June 6, 2024 in Alrewas, England. On June 6th, 1944, 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five Normandy beaches in northern France by air and sea. Operation Overlord was the start of Allied operations which went on to liberate Western Europe, defeat Nazi Germany and end the Second World War. The events of that day are known as D-Day. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Normandy veterans 104-year-old John Gillespie (C-L) and 99-year-old Simeon Mayou (C-R) attend a service commemorating Normandy veterans at the Normandy Memorial at The National Arboretum on June 6, 2024 in Alrewas, England. On June 6th, 1944, 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five Normandy beaches in northern France by air and sea. Operation Overlord was the start of Allied operations which went on to liberate Western Europe, defeat Nazi Germany and end the Second World War. The events of that day are known as D-Day. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX *** 
The French Air Force elite acrobatic flying team "Patrouille de France" (Top) followed by the British Royal Air Force's (RAF) aerobatic team, the "Red Arrows" perform a flypast above during the International commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II "D-Day" Allied landings in Normandy, in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, in northwestern France, on June 6, 2024. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 80th anniversary since the launch of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
The French Air Force elite acrobatic flying team “Patrouille de France” (Top) followed by the British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) aerobatic team, the “Red Arrows” perform a flypast above during the International commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II “D-Day” Allied landings in Normandy, in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, in northwestern France, on June 6, 2024. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images) * 
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk in the Normandy American Cemetery following a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk in the Normandy American Cemetery following a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 
King Charles III attends the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion's commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 06, 2024 in Ver-Sur-Mer, France. Normandy is hosting various events across significant sites such as Pegasus Bridge, Sainte-Mère-Église, and Pointe du Hoc, to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - Pool/Getty Images)
King Charles III attends the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion’s commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 06, 2024 in Ver-Sur-Mer, France. Normandy is hosting various events across significant sites such as Pegasus Bridge, Sainte-Mère-Église, and Pointe du Hoc, to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland – Pool/Getty Images) 
Royal Marines of 47 Commando land on Gold Beach to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 06, 2024 in Asnelles, France. June 6th is the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Royal Marines of 47 Commando land on Gold Beach to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 06, 2024 in Asnelles, France. June 6th is the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) 
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the legacy of Pointe du Hoc, and democracy around the world, Friday, June 7, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the legacy of Pointe du Hoc, and democracy around the world, Friday, June 7, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 

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