La Jornada – Emotional commemoration of ‘D-Day’. 80 years since the Normandy Landings.

La Jornada – Emotional commemoration of ‘D-Day’. 80 years since the Normandy Landings.
La Jornada – Emotional commemoration of ‘D-Day’. 80 years since the Normandy Landings.

Saint-Laurent-Sur-Mer. Omaha Beach, Omaha Beach is perhaps the name that has remained in the collective memory of this historic date, June 6, 1944, the ‘D-Day’ – Decision Day- Decision Day, the day on which the allied forces of the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France landed to liberate Europe from Nazi rule.

An emotional ceremony was held today on this beach organized by the French government and attended by numerous world leaders, surviving veterans between 98 and 194 years old and their families, as well as relatives of the victims of the towns where it was carried out. The battle lasted for about 100 days.

The veterans received from President Macron the Order of the Legion of Honor, instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte and awarded to French or foreign men and women for special merits in both the civil and military fields.

Emmanuelle Macron and his wife personally welcomed each and every one of the special guests as they made their way to take their seats along a red carpet. The President of the United States Joe Biden and his wife, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, David Cameron, Minister of Canada, King Charles of England and his son William, heir to the throne among many others.

President Volodymyr Zelensky attended with his wife; Notable was the prolonged applause he received from the hundreds of attendees.

Absence of Russia. Surviving veterans.

Also notable was the absence of Russia, which traditionally participated in these celebrations as an important protagonist in the liberation of Europe from Nazi rule. The presence of numerous European leaders and President Biden is interpreted as a political summit to show the unity of Europe and the United States.

The celebrations will continue for two weeks in a festival with a variety of events that will take place in the different towns of Normandy.

Numerous visitors have gathered in this region during these dates, some dressed in war uniforms of the time, driving military vehicles, and have even set up tents emulating the atmosphere that prevailed in 1944 during the battle.

Emotional was the presence of some veterans between the ages of 98 and 104 who managed to survive the historic battle.

A huge screen showed the faces of some of the fallen soldiers with the inscription in English and French We did it for you- l’a fait pour toi -We did it for you-

In his speech the French president highlighted; „ We are all children of the landing; “Thousands sacrificed their lives in the service of dignity and freedom, for that freedom we must fight every day.”

Especially moving was hearing during the ceremony the reading of some letters that were written by those soldiers who lost their lives.

A group of schoolchildren dressed in black and white performed an exercise that imitated what could have been the landing of the soldiers.

Military operation unprecedented in history

In the early hours of June 6, 1944 in military jargon and known worldwide as D-Day. – Decision Day – The largest military operation in history began

As difficult as it may be to imagine, that day around 160 soldiers from the allied countries, the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France, each carrying about 30 kilos of artillery, disembarked from a total of 7,000 ships; Also loaded with heavy artillery such as tanks with cannons.

By air, 800 planes arrived, from which 23,000 paratroopers descended.

The landing beaches were heavily armored by Nazi Germany, however, the magnitude was never imagined. If anything there were 30 thousand soldiers on the coasts and they never received reinforcements in the almost 100 days that the fighting lasted.

It must be remembered that by 1944 Germany had been at war for 4 years. Modern long-range cannons slowed down some of the ships and the human losses for the Allies that June 6 were numerous, 4,400 soldiers lost their lives on Omaha Beach alone.

The ceremony concluded with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, (1770-1827) also known as Ode to Joy. Since 1985, this well-known piece by the German musician has been officially the anthem of the European Union.

The great German musician found inspiration in a poem by the German philosopher and poet Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) where the brotherhood between men is highlighted.

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