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US, French Defense Chiefs Commemorate D-Day

U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates and his French counterpart, Herve Morin, are commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy - a decisive battle that led to the April 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

Gates is speaking Wednesday, at the dedication of a visitor's center at Normandy's American Cemetery, the French burial ground for 9,400 U.S. soldiers killed while storming the beaches.

In prepared remarks, he is expected to speak of France's and the United States' shared goals in resisting tyranny.

On Tuesday, Morin said his father used to remind him how much France owes the soldiers who died to liberate his country. He said the American graveyards hold deep significance.

When Gates arrived in Paris Tuesday evening, he became the first U.S. defense secretary to visit the French capital in nearly a decade.