Biden and allies mark 80th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy


President Biden and key U.S. allies are visiting Normandy on Thursday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that propelled the end of World War II. 

Mr. Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are together marking the most significant victory of the western allies in World War II, as well as the largest seaborne invasion in history. Mr. Biden is in France through the weekend for D-Day anniversary commemorations, planning to meet with key allies along the way. 

“73,000 brave Americans landed at Utah and Omaha beaches in Normandy on June 6, 1944 and the president will greet American veterans and their family members while in France to honor their sacrifice,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in announcing the president’s trip. 

Members of Congress from both parties, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and speaker emerita Nancy Pelosi, will also be at the D-Day commemorations Thursday. 

The June 6, 1944 D-Day operation, given the codename OVERLORD, sent five naval assault divisions to the beaches of Normandy, France. The invasion included 7,000 ships and landing craft run by more than 195,000 naval personnel. More than 130,000 troops from the U.S., Great Britain and their allies landed on the shores. Many more soldiers followed, and their efforts helped lead to the defeat of German Nazi forces. 

The president plans to give a speech Friday from Normandy’s Point du Hoc cliffs that will highlight the men who scaled those cliffs, democracy and the “dangers of isolationism,” said national security adviser Jake Sullivan. In his speech, the president will draw a line from World War II to the formation of NATO to today, as war again haunts Europe, Sullivan said. 

On Saturday, the festivities will continue as Mr. Biden participates in a parade procession to the Elysee Palace. And on Sunday, Mr. Biden will lay a wreath at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, where World War I veterans are buried.  

A British military police unit parades down the Champs Elysees from the Arc De Triomphe during the Victory Day celebration in Paris, France Sunday, May 12, 1946. (AP Photo)


Among the allies Mr. Biden will meet with in France is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as Ukraine continues to suffer from Russia’s onslaught. 

The president is expected to have an “extended discussion” with Macron on a range of issues, including the Middle East, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, technology and clean energy, Sullivan said. Macron and Mr. Biden are scheduled to make a joint press appearance on Saturday, and Macron is hosting a state dinner for the president and first lady Jill Biden on Saturday. 

World War II veterans visiting the beaches of Normandy, France
World War II veterans visiting the beaches of Normandy, France

Forever Young Veterans

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump opted out of the trip to Normandy to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day while in Paris, citing bad weather, a move that drew intense criticism. 

Kristin Brown contributed to this report 

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