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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.