News / Europe

Obama Honors D-Day Veterans on Anniversary

U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande stand with veterans during the playing of Taps, at Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Colleville sur Mer, Normandy, France, June 6, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande stand with veterans during the playing of Taps, at Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Colleville sur Mer, Normandy, France, June 6, 2014.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders paid tribute to World War II veterans at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
 
In a speech at Omaha Beach on the coast of Normandy, France, Obama hailed the troops who he said "gave so much for the survival of liberty at this moment of maximum peril."

He spoke from a monument overlooking neat rows of white marble crosses on the graves of nearly 10,000 soldiers. The cemetery lies on a bluff near the beaches where more than 160,000 Allied troops - 73,000 of them American - launched the massive assault on a shoreline heavily fortified by German forces. Though about 4,500 died that day, Allied forces liberated Paris two months later and ultimately defeated the Nazis throughout Europe.
 
  • While under heavy machine gun fire from the German coastal defense forces, American soldiers maneuver off the ramp of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft during the Allied landing operations at Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.
  • A Coast Guard LCI, listing to port, pulls alongside a transport ship to evacuate the troops and wounded just before the craft capsized and sank during the invasion of Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. 
  • Allied troops crouch behind the bulwarks of a landing craft as it nears Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Members of an American unit reach Utah Beach on a life raft after their landing craft was hit and sunk by German coastal defenses. Here soldiers help their exhausted comrades ashore during the Normandy invasion, June 6, 1944. 
  • British troops wait for the signal to move forward during the early Allied landing operations in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. 
  • Assault vehicles storm the beach as Allied landing craft invade the shore of Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. 
  • American paratroopers fly over the English Channel enroute to a 100-mile front during the invasion of the Normandy coast, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Special British commandos move inland from the beaches at Normandy under enemy shell, mortar and sniper fire, France, June 6, 1944.
  • American troops move to the interior of northern France, June 6, 1944. 
  • Soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Flotilla at Juno Beach, near Bernieres-sur-mer, during the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
  • German prisoners of war are led away by Allied forces during landing operations at Utah Beach, Normandy coast, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Landing craft loaded with American troops are guarded overhead by barrage balloons, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Allied forces using amphibious trucks follow foot troops ashore during the early invasion of the Normandy coast, June 6, 1944. 
  • British commandos pass through the streets of a town near Caen, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Following the first Allied landings on the French coast troops began to move inland, passing through villages where they were given a warm welcome, June 6, 1944.

In his speech, Obama praised the veterans who took part in D-Day for changing the course of human history, saying it is important their story is "seared into the memory of the future world."

The Normandy Landings
 
  • Code-named Operation Neptune
  • Allies selected Normandy because it provided the best access to France's interior
  • Assault began after midnight on June 6, 1944
  • Operation involved 160,000 Allied troops, 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft
  • Allied casualties of June 6, 1944, estimated at 10,000 killed, wounded and missing in action
Opening the ceremony, French President Francois Hollande also said the sacrifice of the soldiers "changed the world."
 
"We owe it to the memory of those who died for us, and we also owe it - with regards to the willingness of France - to be present everywhere, aware that it comes with a long history and that it still has a destiny to fulfill for the fate of the whole world,'' Hollande said.

The leaders of 18 countries and thousands of veterans took part in the ceremony.

​Among the leaders and dignitaries in attendance were British Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

Merkel told Putin, in talks Friday, that Russia had a "great responsibility" to support peace in Ukraine, Reuters reported, citing a German government spokeswoman. 

Obama, Putin Meet

Obama is capping a four-day European tour in which he has put much energy into isolating Putin for his country's actions in Ukraine. The two men spoke briefly and informally at a D-Day luncheon for the assembled leaders Friday.

U.S. officials said President Obama made clear to Putin that Russia must recognize Petro Poroshenko as the legitimate leader of Ukraine, cease support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, and stop the flow of arms and materiel across the border. Obama urged Putin to work with the new Ukrainian government to reduce tensions, and indicated that a failure to do so would only deepen Russia's isolation.

Russian news agencies quoted Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying the Russian and American presidents both called for "a speedy end to the violence and military operations."

Meanwhile, some U.S. veterans revisited the site of D-Day, the largest amphibious assault in military history. A few, including American Jim Martin of the 101st Airborne Division, marked the anniversary by holding a re-enactment parachute jump on Thursday.
 
"Was it different?" a reporter asked him after making the jump.
 
"Oh yes, nobody shooting at me. It's much nicer," Martin replied.

Other veterans, most of whom now are in their 90s, observed the anniversary in a more relaxed manner, watching the sun rise at the beach Friday.

On this June 6, the skies once again filled with smoke and the ground rumbled as warplanes flew overhead. But this time the smoke was from a 21-gun salute and the planes were F-16 fighter jets flying in a missing-man formation to honor the sacrifices of thousands of U.S. and other Allied soldiers.
 
  • World War II veteran of the U.S. 29th Infantry Division, Morley Piper, 90, salutes during a D-Day commemoration, on Omaha Beach in Vierville sur Mer, France, June 6, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande look out at Omaha Beach, one of the sites of the Allied beach landings, at Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville sur Mer in Normandy, France, June 6, 2014.
  • Colored smoke fills the sky as WWII veterans stand to attention flanked by children during an international ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings on D-Day on Sword Beach in Ouistreham, in Normandy, June 6, 2014.
  • French WWII veteran Leon Gautier of the Kiieffer commando (L) and German WWII veteran, paratrooper Johannes Borner (R) embrace as a sign of reconciliation during an international ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings on D-Day on Sword Beach in Ouistreham, in Normandy, June 6, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande walk by veterans and participants at a D-Day ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande stand with veterans during a fly over of the Normandy American Cemetery, at Omaha Beach in Colleville sur Mer in Normandy, France, June 6, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande stand with veterans during the playing of Taps, at Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Colleville sur Mer, Normandy, France, June 6, 2014.
  • Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott places a cross at a grave as he arrives to attend the French-British ceremony at the British War cemetery in Bayeux, Normandy, France, June 6, 2014.
  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth pays her respects after laying a wreath during the French-British ceremony at the British War cemetery in Bayeux, Normandy, France, June 6, 2014.
  • Queen Margrethe of Denmark lays a wreath in front of a war memorial, as part of D-Day commemorations, at Sainte Marie du Mont, France, June 6, 2014.
  • A military enthusiast takes a snapshot of Omaha Beach, France, June 6, 2014.
  • An American flag is placed in the sand of Omaha Beach, western France, as world leaders, veterans and Normandy residents pay tribute to the thousands who gave their lives in the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France 70 years ago, June 6, 2014.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Q. Fineley from: USA
June 07, 2014 11:03 AM
Obama traveled to France and read from a teleprompter at Omaha Beach where over 9,000 Americans died. Obama said “blood soaked the water (and) bombs broke the sky.” Later he accompanied France’s socialist president, Francois Hollande, as a wreath was placed at a colonnade near thousands of stone crosses on the graves of the fallen.

June 6 in the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The media is out in full force and world leaders in full regalia as parachute drops are recreated, fireworks are displayed, and the IMAX film “D-Day Normandy 1944,” narrated by Tom Brokaw, is screened.



Over 60 million people, or 2.5% of the world population, were killed during the Second World War. Responsibility for the staggering loss of life and property is uniformly placed on Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Excluded from the official history is the fact Hitler and the National Socialists would not have risen to power without the help of international bankers and American and German corporations.

Professor Antony C. Sutton’s Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler documents how key Wall Street financiers and other international bankers subsidized Hitler and the Nazis. Sutton documents how J.P. Morgan, T. W. Lamont, the Rockefeller interests, General Electric Company, Standard Oil, National City Bank, Chase and Manhattan banks, Kuhn, Loeb and Company, and dozens of other business interests supported and subsidized Hitler and the Nazis.

“American companies associated with the Morgan-Rockefeller international investment bankers,” Sutton writes, “were intimately related to the growth of Nazi industry.” General Motors, Ford, General Electric, DuPont and “the handful of U.S. companies intimately involved with the development of Nazi Germany were — except for the Ford Motor Company — controlled by the Wall Street elite — the J.P. Morgan firm, the Rockefeller Chase Bank and to a lesser extent the Warburg Manhattan bank.”

The late Senator Prescott Bush, the grandfather of former president George W. Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies profiting from the Nazi war machine and its destruction of Europe. In 2004 The Guardian newspaper “obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism,” write Ben Aris in Berlin and Duncan Campbell. “Remarkably, little of Bush’s dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him.”

Remarkable or not, much of the information linking the bankers and corporations to the Nazis is ignored by the corporate media and academia. Instead of unvarnished truth – Hitler was funded by Wall Street and a clique of international bankers profited from unprecedented mass murder – we are fed a diet half truth and outright lies and fabrication about the second deadliest war in history (the first being Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent more than five hundred years ago).

by: nigel cairns from: san diego
June 06, 2014 12:17 PM
this should be a day of great shame for politicians knowing that their predecessors caused this disgraceful loss of human life

by: WhirledPeas from: Austin, TX
June 06, 2014 12:13 PM
Thank you, Mr. President. You honor our service members by acknowledging that every problem isn't a nail to be hit with the proverbial hammer.

by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
June 06, 2014 9:16 AM
It is good to see the president acknowledging American servicemen's sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy.
In Response

by: KennethSims from: Las Vegas
June 06, 2014 12:18 PM
Obama has no honor. He does not deserve to shine the shoes of these great men of bravery and honor. He turned his back on them when he ordered the closure of their war memorial last October. He is merely there because he has to be and for a photo op. Obama is a liar and he is not my president , spoken by a veteran of the United States Army.

by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
June 06, 2014 8:47 AM
Thank you for finally acknowledging America's sacrifice on this D-Day.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs