Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (2024)

Table of Contents
What we covered here French President Emmanuel Macron: "Let us be worthy of those who landed here" World War II veteran dies while traveling to France for D-Day anniversary Trump posts tribute on 80thanniversary of D-Day landings in Normandy France's Macron awards 3 more people the Legion of Honor Testimonials and musical performances are taking place during international ceremony Austin says "Ukraine matters" in the midst of D-Day ceremonies The international ceremony is underway Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives at international ceremony to standing ovation How French organizers are trying to tailor Thursday's commemoration to centenarians British woman who helped make the maps for D-Day landing among those awarded with French honor Veteran and TikTok star says "we were all in this together" while reflecting on D-Day anniversary What it's like riding in a World War II-era amphibious vehicle What has happened so far during the D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy and what is still to come British paratroopers land in Normandy ... and are greeted by customs These are the 11 Americans who received France's highest honor this morning in Normandy "Placid Lassie" takes to the Normandy skies, 80 years after carrying troops into battle Tom Hanks says the US "cannot help but turn towards what is right" Biden has delivered an emotive speech in France, drawing parallels between 1944 and now. Here's what to know Biden: "Democracy is not guaranteed" As Western allies gather for D-Day anniversary, Zelensky calls for "true unity" to prevail "The price of unchecked tyranny is the blood of the young and the brave," Biden says Biden ties D-Day to Russian invasion of Ukraine: "The struggle between a dictatorship and freedom is unending" Biden subtly hits out at "America First" in D-Day speech Biden acknowledges the thousands of people of color and women who served Biden salutes World War II veterans at D-Day 80-year anniversary Biden honors "band of brothers" who made it to Normandy In pictures: The 80 year D-Day anniversary commemorations US Defense secretary gives thanks to veterans in comments marking 80th anniversary of D-Day Macron to American veterans: "You left everything and risked everything for our independence" Biden acknowledges "critical alliances" while attending D-Day commemorations in France D-Day reflects "very best of America's values," secretary says at 80-year anniversary Biden and Macron arrive for start of US D-Day commemoration Gen. Charles Q. Brown on D-Day anniversary: "Our freedom is not free" Wreaths laid on Normandy beach by British, Canadian and French leaders King Charles will not attend the international ceremony for D-Day commemorations French Prime Minister: "France will never forget those who fell for her" Biden will shortly speak at the D-Day ceremony in Normandy Democratic leader on D-Day anniversary pushes back on Trump calling US a fascist state Putin not invited to D-Day commemoration despite Soviet Union's historic role in defeating Nazi Germany Trudeau: "Canada and the world will keep commemorating this significant day" Britain's Prince William pays tribute to Canadian troops in D-Day speech British commemoration ends with King Charles and President Macron laying wreaths Biden meets veterans in Normandy Analysis: Biden's visit to Normandy may mark the end of an American era King Charles: "Our gratitude is unfailing and our admiration eternal" In pictures: The D-Day landings Security operation ramped up for D-Day commemorations This year will likely be the last major D-Day anniversary with living veterans in attendance D-Day delight as King Charles makes trip to France The war in Ukraine casts its long shadow over commemorations World leaders gather to mark 80 years since D-Day References

Live Updates

By Joshua Berlinger, Antoinette Radford, Shania Shelton and Kyle Feldscher, CNN

Updated 2:20 PM EDT, Thu June 6, 2024

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (1)

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Biden gives warning about democracy during D-Day 80th anniversary speech

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What we covered here

  • World leaders and veterans marked the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, on Thursday.
  • On June 6, 1944, Allied troops from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia and Canada landed on five stretches of the German-occupied French coastline. The largest amphibious invasion in history laid the foundations for the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
  • US President Joe Biden was among 20 heads of state in Normandy at a D-Day ceremony at Omaha Beach, where US forces suffered substantial losses.
  • Biden and other leaders linked Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s full-scale invasion to the D-Day operation, warning that “democracy is not guaranteed.”

52 Posts

Our live coverage of the 80th anniversary of D-Day has ended. Read more about D-Day here or scroll through the posts on today’s events below.

French President Emmanuel Macron: "Let us be worthy of those who landed here"

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger and Emmanuel Miculita in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (2)

France's President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the International commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II "D-Day" Allied landings in Normandy, in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, in northwestern France, on June 6.

French President Emmanuel Macron closed the international ceremony marking 80 years since D-Day with a speech honoring the soldiers who fought in the largest seaborne invasion in human history and, as other leaders have done throughout the day, drawing parallels to the current geopolitical unrest — most notably the war in Ukraine.

Perhaps the strongest part of Macron’s speech was its end, in which he honored Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — who was in attendance — and the Ukrainian people’s fight against Russia.

Europe has not seen the type of ground conflict that is raging in Ukraine since the end of World War II, and this year’s anniversary comes as Russian forces advance on the battlefield – handing Kyiv a series of tactical defeats and poking holes in the already fragile Western alliance opposed to the Kremlin’s war.

World War II veteran dies while traveling to France for D-Day anniversary

From CNN’s Dakin Andone
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (3)

US Navy veteran Bob Persichitti attends the 74th Reunion of Honor ceremony on Iwo To, Japan, March 23, 2019.

Robert Persichitti, a 102-year-old World War II US Navy veteran, died last week while on his way to France to commemoratethe 80th anniversary of D-Day, according to Honor Flight Rochester, a veterans organization.

Persichittiwasa “wonderful, pleasant, humbleguy,” who was “easy to talk to,”saidHonor Flight Rochester President and CEORichard Stewart, who told CNN he learned of his friend’s death last Friday.

“We miss him,” said Stewart.

While Persichitti passed away bound for Normandy — where the Allied forces’landing on June 6, 1944, laid the foundation for the defeat of Nazi Germany — he served in the Pacific as a radioman aboard the USS Eldorado, Stewart said. His tour of duty included Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Guam, according to Stewart andthe New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame, into which Persichitti was inducted in 2020.

Persichitti fell illlast weekduring a stop in Germany while headed for Normandy,Al DeCarlo, a friend who was traveling with Persichitti, toldCNN affiliate WHAM.Persichitti was airlifted to the hospitalanddied soon after, DeCarlo said.

Persichitti had heart problems in the past, “but for 102, I would say he was in superb health,”Stewart told CNN.

Persichitti was born in a coal mining town outside Pittsburgh, Stewart said, describing his friend’s “humble, poor beginnings.” After the war, Persichitti worked as a carpentry teacher in Rochester, New York, according to the Veterans Hall of Fame, and in 1972 received a degree from SUNY Buffalo.

Trump posts tribute on 80thanniversary of D-Day landings in Normandy

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Former US President Donald Trump on Thursday posted a tribute to the “immortal heroes who landed at Normandy” to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

“Today, we honor the immortal heroes who landed at Normandy 80 years ago. The men of D-Day will live forever in history as among the bravest, noblest, and greatest Americans ever to walk the earth. They shed their blood, and thousands gave their lives, in defense of American Freedom. They are in our hearts today and for all time,” Trump posted on Truth Social.

France's Macron awards 3 more people the Legion of Honor

From CNN's Emmanuel Miculita and Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (4)

French President Emmanuel Macron awards US WWII veteran Arlester Brown with the Legion of Honor during the International commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II "D-Day" Allied landings in Normandy, in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, in northwestern France, on June 6.

French President Emmanuel Macron used the international ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day to award the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military or civilian distinction, to three more American veterans: Joseph Miller, Richard Calvin Rung and Arlester Brown.

Earlier in the day, Macron awarded the Legion of Honor toChristian Lamb, a 104-year-old British woman credited with having made the maps for the D-Day landing, and 11 other American veterans.

Testimonials and musical performances are taking place during international ceremony

As the international ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Omaha Beach is underway, testimonials from those who fought in the war are currently being read out.

Along with the testimonials, musical performances are demonstrated in front of attendees.

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to deliver an address later during the ceremony.

Austin says "Ukraine matters" in the midst of D-Day ceremonies

From CNN's Shania Shelton
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (5)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine while participating in D-Day ceremonies, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “Ukraine matters.”

He continued, “Because anytimeyou see that type of support onboth sides of the aisle for acause, Congress will find away to get things done, whichis what they did in this case,because it’s the right thingto do.”

The international ceremony is underway

From CNN's Josh Berlinger in Paris

The international ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Omaha Beach has begun.

More than 20 heads of state and government and representatives from royal families across Europe are in attendance.

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to deliver an address later during the ceremony.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives at international ceremony to standing ovation

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at Thursday’s international ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day to a standing ovation and a rousing applause.

Zelensky’s presence — and Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s absence, despite Soviet Russia’s key role in winning the war in Europe — is highly symbolic given how the war in Ukraine is casting a shadow over the day’s events.

Several world leaders have already used their speeches to cast parallels between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the aggression of Nazi Germany that sparked World War II.

Watch the moment here:

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How French organizers are trying to tailor Thursday's commemoration to centenarians

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (7)

US servicemen escort US WWII veterans in wheelchairs at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer in northwestern France, on June 6.

This afternoon’s international ceremony on Omaha Beach marking 80 years since the D-Day landings may very well be the last major commemoration to involve living veterans in significant numbers. Major events are held every five years, and all of the veterans are in their late 90s or early 100s.

About 200 veterans are believed to have traveled to Normandy for today’s events – approximately 150 from the United States and more than 40 from the United Kingdom. Another 15 were part of the Canadian delegation that made the transatlantic trip.

Delion told reporters in April that organizers were attempting to do everything they could to make the ceremony as easy as possible for the centenarians in attendance. Their rehearsals even included wheelchair runs, Delion said.

Among the measures Delion said he and his team were planning on taking were keeping the ceremonies less than an hour in length and trying to ensure they start on time so that the centenarians wouldn’t spend too much time seated.

A handful of veterans also arrived at the ceremony after many official dignitaries and heads of state and government, in a break with normal protocol for these types of events.

Delion said in April that French organizers were considering such a move as a means of making the ceremony easier on vets.

British woman who helped make the maps for D-Day landing among those awarded with French honor

From CNN's Antoinette Radford
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (8)

Britain's King Charles III, left, and Britain's Queen Camilla, second left, greet 104-years-old British World War II veteran Christian Lamb, center, who helped plan the D-Day landings in Normandy, on June 6.

Among those awarded a Legion of Honor — France’s highest civilian and military award — today was British woman Christian Lamb.

Lamb, now 104 years old, enlisted in the army in 1939 as a first aid worker before eventually joining the Women’s Royal Navy Service – also known as the Wrens.

She proved herself as a capable mariner, and was quickly promoted through the ranks, ultimately posted to Winston Churchill’s War Rooms in London, where Britain’s war operations were planned.

She is credited with having made the maps for the D-Day landing.

Veteran and TikTok star says "we were all in this together" while reflecting on D-Day anniversary

From CNN's Shania Shelton
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (9)

President Joe Biden greets American World War II veteran Jake Larson,before a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery on June 6, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Jake Larson, veteran and TikTok star, said that heroes gave up their life so that he could make it, while discussing the 80th anniversary of theD-Day landingsin Normandy.

“I don’t think I was a hero. I, I was just like everybody else. We, we were all in this together,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Asked if he’d come back to Normandy again, Larson said, “Yes, I’d come back again just to honor all those that gave their life so that I could be here.”

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What it's like riding in a World War II-era amphibious vehicle

From CNN's Saskya Vandoorne and Melissa Bell in Arromanches-les-Bains, France
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It’s been a perfect day for a “duck” ride on the shores of Normandy.

These World War II-era DUKWs — amphibious vehicles that became known more fondly as “ducks” — helped bring in around 40% of all supplies that came ashore on the beaches of Normandy starting on D-Day until mid-July.

They were crucial in bringing weapons and equipment straight from ships far from the coast, all the way up to the advancing front lines — so much so that the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, Gen. DwightEisenhower, regarded them as as “one of the most valuable pieces of equipment produced by the United States during the war.”

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CNN's Mark Esplin, Melissa Bell and Saskya Vandoorne are seen on board a World War II-era DUKW on the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Eighty years on, the ducks are back off the coast of Normandy. Many are maintained by civilians like Denis Le Priol, who’s owned his for 30 years. He works year round and at great expense to keep his duck in working order. Every year on the anniversary of the largest amphibious landing in history, Le Priol brings his duck down to Arromanches-les-Bains — one of the beaches where British forces landed — “out of a duty of memory”

“A lot of people died for our freedom and I need to help the young generation understand what happened here,” he said.

He said his favorite part is taking kids on board to pique their interest in what happened here.

“No amount of school books can achieve that,” he says.

What has happened so far during the D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy and what is still to come

From CNN's Shania Shelton
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (13)

Royal Marines of 47 Commando land at Gold Beach to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landing on June 6, in Asnelles, France.

World leaders have come together on the beaches of Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of theD-Day landings in Normandy.

US PresidentJoe Biden, French PresidentEmmanuel Macron, British Prime MinisterRishi Sunakand Canadian Prime MinisterJustin Trudeauare among more than 20heads of state and government attending events on Thursday being held across Normandy to honor the nearly 160,000 Allied troops who fought there.

In his first overseas trip since being diagnosed with cancer, Britain’s King Charles III participated in a commemoration this morning held at the British Normandy Memorial, where he delivered a speech honoring those who fought in the Battle for Normandy and the French civilians and resistance fighters who lost their lives during World War II.

The British commemoration concluded with Charles and Macron, along with their spouses, laying wreaths to honor the troops who lost their lives.

Trudeau honored Canada’s efforts during the D-Day landing and the sacrifices of the country’s soldiers in a speech at his country’s commemoration in the small Norman town of Corseulles-sur-Mer on Thursday morning.

During the US D-Day 80-year anniversary commemoration at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, those in attendance heard Macron, Biden, Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission Charles Djouand US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin give thanks to veterans and honored several who made the journey back to Normandy.

As the day continues, towns across Normandy are hosting theirown events. A larger international event organized by the French will also be held on Omaha Beach,where American troops suffered their heaviest casualties on D-Day.

British paratroopers land in Normandy ... and are greeted by customs

From CNN's Joseph Ataman in Paris

British paratroopers were greeted by French customs officials when they landed in a Normandy field Wednesday as part of Thursday’s D-Day commemorations.

Following Brexit, British citizens face enhanced border checks when entering the European Schengen zone.

Watch the moment here:

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (14)

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These are the 11 Americans who received France's highest honor this morning in Normandy

From CNN's Emmanuel Miculita and Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (15)

France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, awards US WWII veteran William Casassa with the insignia of Knight in the Legion of Honour order (Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur) during the US ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II D-Day Allied landings, on June 6.

French President Emmanuel Macron honored 11 American veterans with the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian and military award.

Macron told the veterans he was honoring them “for your bravery, for your service to our freedom.”

The award was created in 1802 by Napoleon.

Here are the following American veterans who were given the honor:

  • Hilbert Margol
  • John Wardell
  • Robert Pedigo
  • Calvin Shiner
  • Edward Berthold
  • Dominick Critelli
  • Bill Cassasa
  • Victor Chaney
  • Raymond Glansberg
  • Richard Stewart
  • John Kinyon

About 150 American veterans made the journey to Normandy to commemorate the anniversary, about two dozen of whom fought on D-Day, according to Charles Djou, the secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), the independent agency responsible for managing US military cemeteries and monuments overseas.

"Placid Lassie" takes to the Normandy skies, 80 years after carrying troops into battle

From CNN's Joseph Ataman in Arromanches-les-Bains, France
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Eighty years to the day after the “Placid Lassie’” first flew in the skies above France,towing American soldiers in a glider into battle, she soared once again over Normandy.

A troop-carrying C-47 aircraft, the Placid Lassie is one of seven World War II-era aircraft taking part in D-Day commemorations this week, kept flying by teams of volunteer pilots and mechanics.

Most of these aircraft from the United States-based D-Day squadron, an organization that put together the Placid Lassie’s trip to Normandy this year alongside several other similar aircraft.

The journey took six days, as these aircraft were built for flight during another era. They require fuel, tools and spare parts not readily available on the market today, Zipkin said.

Zipkin believes that flying these planes is one of the most important ways to bring the history of WWII to life – second only to the stories shared by the dwindling number of living veterans.

Without modern avionics, navigation or communication equipment, flying the aircraft is a visceral and tactile experience, one that demands mastering a new way of flying, Zipkin said.

However, growing costs and the advanced age of the air frames may make this the last time the public sees such a large formation of these veteran birds in flight in Europe.

He estimated that it costs the owners of the planes each $150,000 to $200,000 to make the journey one way.

Tom Hanks says the US "cannot help but turn towards what is right"

From CNN's Shania Shelton
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (17)

Tom Hanks during a walk about at the Normandy American Cemetery ahead to the US ceremony marking the 80th Anniversary of D-Day at Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

As celebrations for the80th anniversary of D-Day are underway, actor Tom Hanks spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about democracy, saying he believes the US and Western societies “cannot help but turn towards what is right.”

“Our Constitution says, ‘we the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union.’ That journey to a more perfect union has missteps in it,” Hanks said.

Watch here:

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Biden has delivered an emotive speech in France, drawing parallels between 1944 and now. Here's what to know

From CNN Staff
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (19)

President Joe Biden delivers a speech during a commemorative ceremony to mark D-Day 80th anniversary on Thursday, June 6, at the US cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy.

Speaking at a commemoration service marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, US President Joe Biden warned “the price of unchecked tyranny is the blood of the young and the brave.”

His comments come on a day that Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion has been a major theme and frequent parallels have been drawn by numerous leaders. In his speech, the president drew direct parallels between Nazi Germany and the threats facing Western democracies today.

Here’s what else to know about Biden’s speech:

  • Tribute to veterans: At the start of the speech, Biden turned to veterans present at the commemoration and thanked them for their service.
  • Biden honored “band of brothers:” Naming several veterans who made the journey back to Normandy during his speech by name.
  • He acknowledged people of color and women who served in the war, noting that hundreds of thousands of people “courageously served despite unjust limitation on what they could do for their nation.”
  • The president acknowledged it may be the last ceremony with living veterans, which he said should inspire Americans to continue their fight against tyranny.

Biden: "Democracy is not guaranteed"

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (20)

U.S President JoeBidenspeaks during a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

US President Joe Biden acknowledged that this year’s commemoration of D-Day may be the last to involve living veterans, a fact that he said must push Americans to continue the fight against tyranny.

As Western allies gather for D-Day anniversary, Zelensky calls for "true unity" to prevail

From CNN's Billy Stockwell

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for “true unity” to prevail as it did when allied forces rallied together to defend “Europe’s freedoms,” as D-Day anniversary commemorations took place Thursday.

Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion has been a major theme of the D-Day commemorations on Thursday and frequent parallels have been drawn by numerous leaders.

“Allies defended Europe’s freedom then, and Ukrainians do so now. Unity prevailed then, and true unity can prevail today,” hepostedon X Thursday.

He said that he and first lady Olena Zelenska were honored to take part in today’s “special event,” adding that he wants to strengthen his country and promote unity among “all those who respect human values and life.”

"The price of unchecked tyranny is the blood of the young and the brave," Biden says

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger

US President Joe Biden ended his speech with a metaphoric call to arms against the forces of tyranny that threaten Western democracies,

“History tells us freedom is not free. If you want to know the price of freedom, come here to Normandy,” Biden said from the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. “Remember, the price of unchecked tyranny is the blood of the young and the brave.”

He continued:

Biden ties D-Day to Russian invasion of Ukraine: "The struggle between a dictatorship and freedom is unending"

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (21)

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech during the US ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II D-Day Allied landings in Normandy, on June 6.

US President Joe Biden is using his speech to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day to draw direct parallels between Nazi Germany and the threats facing Western democracies today – including in eastern Europe.

Biden mentioned Ukraine specifically, saying the country has been “invaded by a tyrant bent on domination.”

“Ukrainians are fighting with extraordinary courage, suffering great losses but never backing down,” Biden said.

The US president claimed that 350,000 Russian troops had been killed or wounded in the conflict and that nearly 1 million people had fled Russia since it launched its full-scale invasion against Ukraine in February 2022. The Kremlin has not publicly confirmed either figure.

Biden subtly hits out at "America First" in D-Day speech

From CNN's Josh Berlinger in Paris

US President Joe Biden appeared to hit back at former President Donald Trump’s brand of “America first” isolationism in his speech marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Watch here:

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Biden acknowledges the thousands of people of color and women who served

From CNN's Shania Shelton
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (23)

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech during the US ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II "D-Day" Allied landings in Normandy, France, on June 6.

US President Joe Biden acknowledged the thousands of people of color and women who served in World War II in his speech commemorating D-Day.

Biden salutes World War II veterans at D-Day 80-year anniversary

From CNN's Antoinette Radford in London

US President Joe Biden began his speech commemorating D-Day by saluting World War II veterans who served in the invasion of Europe 80 years ago.

Opening his address at the memorial, Biden turned to the veterans, who were seated on stage, and said it was “the highest honor to be able to salute you in Normandy once more. All of you. God love you.”

Multiple US veterans were awarded France’s Legion of Honor by President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the ceremony.

Biden honors "band of brothers" who made it to Normandy

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (24)

U.S. President JoeBidenattends a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

US President Joe Biden honored by name several veterans who made the journey back to Normandy 80 years after the D-Day landings during his speech at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

They include:

  • Kenneth Smith, who operated a rangefinder and radar, who helped the Americans who conducted the daring raid against a German position on Point du Hoc.
  • Bob Gibson, who landed on Utah beach about 10 hours after the invasion began, with bullets still flying everywhere. Gibson drove a tractor with an anti-aircraft gun on top.
  • Ben Miller, a medic who at 3 a.m. on June 6, 1944, flew over the channel in a glider that crash-landed. He survived and saved lives while the battle raged.
  • Lewis Brown, who helped rush supplies to the front lines.
  • Woody Woodhouse, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen
  • Margery Stone, an aircraft mechanic.

Biden said the Americans who fought in Normandy became heroes “because they were given an audacious mission knowing – every one of them knew – the probability of dying was real. But they did it anyway.

In pictures: The 80 year D-Day anniversary commemorations

From CNN Staff

Leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, France and Canada have gathered in Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day celebrations.

US President Joe Biden began the day meeting veterans who served in the D-Day assault, before attending a ceremony with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (25)

Douglas C-47 aircraft fly over as US President Joe Biden,US First Lady Jill Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron walk past flag-bearers during the US ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, on June 6.

Veterans from the US made the journey back to France to mark the occasion. Some were awarded France’s Legion of Honor by Macron.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (26)

World War II veterans arrive for ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6, 2024, in Normandy, France.

There was a fly over by the Red Arrows as ceremonies began.

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The Red Arrows perform a fly over during the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, in Ver-Sur-Mer, France.

Macron also met with veterans, including 98-year-old Alec Penstone, who made the trip to Normandy from the United Kingdom.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (28)

France's President Emmanuel Macron greets 98-year-old British D-Day veteran Alec Penstone during the 80th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy, France, on June 6.

Dozens of veterans made lengthy journeys from around the world gathered to commemorate the sacrifices made in 1944.

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Veterans attend the Canadian commemorative ceremony at the British Normandy Memorial at the Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

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King Charles III speaking during the UK national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, held at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, on June 6.

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A woman walks past crosses and flags at an US cemetery near Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, on June 6.

Britain’s Royal Family were in attendance, including King Charles and Queen Camilla who met with Macron and France’s first lady Brigitte Macron.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (32)

Britain's King Charles III and his wife Britain's Queen Camilla walk with France's President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron as they pass the memorial wall during the ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II D-Day Allied landings near the village of Ver-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

US Defense secretary gives thanks to veterans in comments marking 80th anniversary of D-Day

From CNN's Shania Shelton

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin gave thanks to the veterans in comments marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Speaking to the veterans, he said, “Victors ofD-Day, we are humbled by yourpresence. The young Americanswho fought through the clamorand the chaos of D-Day havegrown old or left us. And whenever a veteran ofD-Day is gathered to his makerin the fullness of time, after a long life lived in freedom, hewins a final victory overHitler.”

“Let us againthank the heroes of D-Daywho kept freedom alive for usall. You saved the world,” Austin said.

Watch here:

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Macron to American veterans: "You left everything and risked everything for our independence"

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (34)

French President EmmanuelMacrondelivers a speeach during a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

French President Emmanuel Macron opened his speech at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, by lauding the American soldiers who landed on the shores of Normandy 80 years ago.

He continued:

Biden acknowledges "critical alliances" while attending D-Day commemorations in France

From CNN's Donald Judd
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (35)

U.S. President JoeBidenand French President Emmanuel Macron attend a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

President JoeBiden reinforced the importance of the US’ alliances across the world, saying he was struck by the solemnity of the ceremonies honoring veterans who served on D-Day 80 years ago.

Biden told ABCNewsinaninterview from Normandy that the sacrifice of soldiers was “astounding.”

“Now imagine what they hadtocome through — I washere 30 years ago, cameinon a landing craft. You could see from out there what they sawhere. Theidea that they getoff those boats, they getoff those landing crafts, manyofthem died, sinking — you come across that beach, as long as it — it’s just astounding. It’s astounding,”hesaid.

“What itsaystomeis, how critical alliances are, how critical alliances areforour security,” Biden said.

The presidenthas soughttocontrast hisvisionofforeign policy with thatof former president Donald Trump, who has struck a moreisolationisttone, describing theNATOalliance as “obsolete,” and threateningto withdraw from thealliance.

D-Day reflects "very best of America's values," secretary says at 80-year anniversary

From CNN's Antoinette Radford in London

Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission Charles Djou said Americans fight not for conquest, but for “humble values” at the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy, France.

Djou said D-Day reflected “the very best of America’s values.”

Djou said the D-Day memorial reminded Americans of the cost of war, and the price of freedom that Americans paid 80 years ago. He added that Americans would fight for freedom again “if necessary” in pointed remarks aimed at Russia and China.

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Biden and Macron arrive for start of US D-Day commemoration

From CNN's Antoinette Radford
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (37)

U.S President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron attend a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day at theNormandyAmerican Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

Veterans are on their feet for the start of the US D-Day 80-year anniversary commemoration at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

US President Joe Biden arrived with first lady Dr. Jill Biden, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron.

Planes flew overhead as the ceremony began.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown on D-Day anniversary: "Our freedom is not free"

From CNN's Shania Shelton

Gen. Charles Q. Brown, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said “our freedom is not free” when discussing the value of democracy and freedom.

“And democracy can stand onits own, but we’ve got tomake sure we’re prepared. Andone of the things I’ve focusedon is ensuring that we havefighting skill todeter future conflict,” Brown told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, speaking in Normandy on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

When asked by Amanpour if people at home understand how difficult the situation we’re living through right now is, Brown said, “I have a sense it’s coming along.”

“We got to continueto remind folks that when youlook at the situation thatwe’re seeing that we justcan’t watch. We got to, wegot tolead,” he said.

Wreaths laid on Normandy beach by British, Canadian and French leaders

From CNN's Antoinette Radford
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (38)

France's Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, left, Britain's Prince William, the Prince of Wales, center and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pay their respects after laying a wreath during the Canadian commemorative ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II D-Day Allied landings in Normandy, at the Juno Beach Centre near the village of Courseulles-sur-Mer, France, on June 6.

Prince William, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have laid a wreath on Normandy Beach.

The leaders walked to the beach where thousands of allied troops were killed in 1944 fighting for the liberation of France.

The laying of the wreath was accompanied by music from the Royal Canadian Air Force, which consists of troops from Ottawa, Quebec and Winnipeg.

King Charles will not attend the international ceremony for D-Day commemorations

From CNN’s Max Foster and Lauren Said-Moorhouse in London

Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Camilla attended the UK Ministry of Defense and the Royal British Legion’s commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer on Thursday morning.

Charles — on his first trip overseas since his cancer diagnosis — is patron of the Royal British Legion and Normandy Memorial Trust.

While the 75-year-old monarch made the trip to France, he will not be present at the international ceremony on Omaha Beach with other heads of state later on Thursday. Instead, in a planned decision, Prince William will represent Britain’s royal family.

The optics of seeing the Prince of Wales instead of his father will not be lost on those within the royal household. CNN understands that it wasn’t a deliberate orchestration.

Remember: King Charles only recently returned to public engagements after getting the green light from his doctors who were “encouraged” by his progress.

He is continuing to receive treatment and each engagement the 75-year-old sovereign carries out is being reviewed and adapted where necessary by his medical team to ensure his continued recovery.

It appears the King is continuing to follow his doctor’s guidance, which is behind his absence at the international commemoration on Thursday afternoon. A royal source told CNN that it was considered a step too far at this stage but that the monarch was delighted the Prince of Wales was representing the nation.

French Prime Minister: "France will never forget those who fell for her"

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (39)

Prime Minister of France Gabriel Attal speaks during the Government of Canada ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, at Juno Beach, in Courseulles-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, on June 6.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said in a speech during the Canadian commemoration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day that France is eternally grateful for the sacrifices Canadian and other Allied soldiers made.

Speaking at Juno Beach, where 14,000 Canadian troops landed on D-Day, Attal said that France’s gratitude is both “eternal” and “infinite.”

Attal also addressed his relative youth – he is just 35 years old and became France’s youngest-ever prime minister earlier this year – and how his generation was able to enjoy a life without war due to the sacrifices of World War II veterans.

Biden will shortly speak at the D-Day ceremony in Normandy

From CNN's Antoinette Radford
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (40)

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, greet a World War II veteran during ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, on June 6.

US President Joe Biden will shortly begin speaking at the D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations.

He is at the ceremony with first lady Dr. Jill Biden, and has spent the morning meeting with veterans.

Our reporters will bring you the latest updates as we get them here, but click the play button at the top of this page to watch his speech live.

Democratic leader on D-Day anniversary pushes back on Trump calling US a fascist state

From CNN's Liz Brown-Kaiser

US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Thursday used the 80thanniversary of D-Day to push back on Donald Trump’s claim that America is a “fascist state” following his recent felony conviction in New York.

“Well, America is a democracy … and we have to fight to make sure that we can keep that going forward,” Jeffries told Kasie Hunt from Normandy, France on “CNN This Morning.”

Jeffries, the top House Democrat, added that “nobody ever wants to go back to where we were on those very, very dark days in world history and again, I think we can draw strength from that resilience.”

He urged that democracy “doesn’t simply run on autopilot” and that today’s events in Normandy, where the president is meeting with veterans, represent an “important recommitment to the principles of democracy.”

Jeffries said he’s “confident” that the American people will “pull together” in ways that are consistent with the founding principles of the United States. He also stressed that in the context of the war between Russia and Ukraine today, “we can draw strength from the incredible resilience” that D-Day veterans showed nearly a century ago and maintain a “rules-based society” in the world.

Putin not invited to D-Day commemoration despite Soviet Union's historic role in defeating Nazi Germany

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (41)

Red army soldiers raising the soviet flag over the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, on April 30, 1945.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not among world leaders marking the 80thanniversary of the D-Day landing, despite the Soviet Union’s inclusion among the Second World War allies.

In May, French President Emmanuel Macron ruled that no Russian representatives would be invited, building on an earlier decision to allow Moscow to send some representatives – just not higher officials — given Russia’s historic role in defeating Nazi Germany.

The war on the Eastern Front, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War, cost the Soviet Union more than 25 million military and civilian lives – more than any other country lost during the war. The allied war against Nazi Germany ended with the fall of Berlin to the Red Army in 1945.

The last time Putin attended D-Day commemorations was in 2014 for the 70thanniversary of the 1944 landings, hosted by former French President Francois Hollande.That appearance was clouded by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ceremony was the scene of an impromptu meeting between former US President Barack Obama and Putin.

The decision to not invite Russia comes as Putin ramps up his rhetoric around a global conflict and warns of the potential use of nuclear weapons. On Wednesday, the Russian president warned Western countries they’re taking a “very serious and dangerous step” by supplying weapons to Ukraine, which could result in Moscow arming their enemies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is at the commemorations and will be meeting with world leaders, including US President Joe Biden.

Trudeau: "Canada and the world will keep commemorating this significant day"

From CNN's Josh Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (42)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during the Government of Canada ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, at Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, on June 6.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau honored Canada’s efforts during the D-Day landing and the sacrifices of the country’s soldiers in a speech at his country’s commemoration in the small Norman town of Corseulles-sur-Mer on Thursday morning.

Speaking in a mix of French and English on the shores of Juno Beach, where more than 14,000 Canadian troops landed on D-Day, Trudeau spoke of the heroism of Canada’s soldiers – an all-volunteer outfit as of June 6, 1944.

Trudeau ended his speech by drawing a parallels between World War II and the threats facing Western democracies today.

Britain's Prince William pays tribute to Canadian troops in D-Day speech

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

The Prince of Wales on Thursday paid tribute to the 14,000 Canadian troops who fought in Normandy on June 6, 1944 “shoulder to shoulder, with thousands of British troops.”

The Prince of Wales said the D-Day assault remained the “most ambitious” in military history, that “ultimately led to the liberation of Europe.”

He paid tribute to the Canadians who died in D-Day, and “every Canadian family who lost a loved one” and veterans who lived “with the scars of battle.”

British commemoration ends with King Charles and President Macron laying wreaths

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (43)

Left - to right, Queen Camilla, King Charles III, President of France, Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron attend the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion’s commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, in Ver-Sur-Mer, France.

The British commemoration being held at the British Normandy Memorial concluded with King Charles III, French President Emmanuel Macron and their spouses laying wreaths to honor the troops who lost their lives on D-Day and the ensuing Battle for Normandy.

Macron is expected to head to the ceremony at the American cemetery in nearby Colleville-sur-Mer later this morning.

Biden meets veterans in Normandy

From CNN's Antoinette Radford and Betsy Klein
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (44)

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, greet a World War II veteran during ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6.

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden met Thursday morning with veterans in Normandy, France at D-Day commemorations.

The president shook hands and took photos with various veterans, many of whom wore their military metals and red poppies.

The red poppy is a mark of remembrance in Europe from the World Wars. It came to be because after the destruction of the world wars, red poppies grew in the fields destroyed by battle.

“You saved the soul of the nation – you really did,” Biden told one of the veterans, whom he met inside a glassed gazebo with American and French flags.

“Give me a hug, God love ya… It’s my honor – my honor,” he told another.

“I have a question – when the Hell do you sleep?” one asked him, to which Biden joked, “When the press isn’t looking.”’

One of the veterans gave Biden a challenge coin in return. “You got one for me! God love ya, I’m a collector.”

“Keep the faith, man,” Biden said to another veteran, who told him he’s having a birthday this Saturday. Biden led a rendition of “Happy Birthday” as he offered his thanks.

“God-willing, we’ll see you at the 110thanniversary,” Biden said, saluting another.

Analysis: Biden's visit to Normandy may mark the end of an American era

From CNN's Stephen Collinson
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (45)

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at the Caen-Carpiquet Airport in Carpiquet, France, enroute to ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6.

The new world for which the greatest generation sacrificed in the bloody surf of the Normandy beaches is fading into history along with the last of the old soldiers.

The 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings observed byPresident Joe Bidenin France Thursday will likely be the last major decennial commemoration attended by significant numbers of veterans. Even a 19-year-old who stormed ashore in the biggest amphibious operation in history would soon be 100.

This year’s memorial ceremony represents far more than a poignant farewell to surviving comrades of more than 150,000 allied troops who forged a beachhead for the liberation of Europe from Adolf Hitler’s Nazis.

Presidents, prime ministers and monarchs from NATO nations are gathering at a paradoxical moment. They are unusually united but experiencing growing dread. The alliance has a new sense of mission in opposing another war started by a tyrant bent on territorial expansion — this time in Ukraine.

But at no point since June 6, 1944, has the unshakable US leadership of the West and support for internationalist values been so in question. Democracy is facing its sternest test in generations from far-right populism on the march on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Geopolitical empires like Russia and China are, meanwhile, resurgent and threatening to obliterate the global system dominated by Western values that has prevailed since World War II.

Read more about why this D-Day is particularly poignant for European and US leaders.

King Charles: "Our gratitude is unfailing and our admiration eternal"

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (46)

King Charles III speaking during the UK national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, held at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, on June 6.

King Charles III of Britain participated in his country’s Thursday morning commemoration held at the British Normandy Memorial by delivering a speech honoring those who fought in the Battle for Normandy and the French civilians and resistance fighters who lost their lives during World War II.

More than 22,000 British service personnel gave their lives during D-Day and the ensuing Battle of Normandy.

In his address, Charles also acknowledged that the world will no longer have any remaining survivors of World War II. The veterans that are still alive are all in their 90s and 100s.

The King, whose trip to France is his first overseas since being diagnosed with cancer, also spoke in French when honoring the French civilians and resistance fighters who lost their lives fighting Nazi Germany.

In pictures: The D-Day landings

From CNN Digital's Photo Team

This year marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day,the largest amphibious invasion in history.

There were many Allied casualties that day — around 4,440 Allied troops were confirmed dead, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, with more than 5,800 troops wounded or missing.

See more photos of this historic day.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (47)

Reinforcements disembark from boats at Normandy.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (48)

A B-26 from the US Air Force flies over one of the beaches during the invasion.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (49)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces, gives the order of the day to paratroopers in England. "Full victory — nothing else" was the command just before they boarded their planes to participate in the first wave.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (50)

US troops huddle behind the protective front of their landing craft as it nears a beachhead in France. Smoke in the background is naval gunfire giving cover to troops on land. Germans rained mortars and artillery down on Allied troops, killing many before they could even get out of their boats. Fighting was especially fierce at Omaha Beach, where Nazi fighters nearly wiped out the first wave of invading forces and left the survivors struggling for cover.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (51)

Landing craft and a fleet of protection vessels approach Omaha Beach. By midnight, the troops had secured their beachheads and moved further inland.

Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (52)

US paratroopers fix their static lines before a jump over Normandy. The Allied invasion — codenamed Operation Overlord — was coordinated across air, land and sea.

Security operation ramped up for D-Day commemorations

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (53)

Mounted gendarmes patrol Omaha Beach as the sun rises in advance of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 4, in Vierville-sur-Mer, France.

American, British and Canadian events are being held this morning at their respective cemeteries in Normandy, after which a larger international event organized by the French will be held on Omaha Beach, where American troops suffered their heaviest casualties on D-Day.

Towns across Normandy also host their own events throughout the day.

With so many heads of state in town, the security measures in place are intense.

A massive contingent of 43,000 security personnel have been deployed over the week’s events, the Interior Ministry has said. For Thursday’s events, 12,000 agents will be on hand.

Heavy travel restrictions put in place by French authorities will also effectively cut off the Norman coastline and the normally sleepy towns that dot it from the rest of the country.

This year will likely be the last major D-Day anniversary with living veterans in attendance

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris

Nearly 1 million spectators are expected, according to the French Interior Ministry. But organizers and veterans themselves also acknowledge that this year could be the last major commemoration in which living veterans are able to attend.

About 200 veterans from the Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States are expected to make the journey, many of whom are more than 100 years old.

“Everything you see in the modern world in a lot of ways can be traced to this particular day,” said Charles Djou, the secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), the independent agency responsible for managing US military cemeteries and monuments overseas.

“The fact that we’re going to have likely the very last time a large group of these veterans coming together who fought on this particular day makes it all that much more poignant, particularly in the context of global affairs right now.”

Read more about how organizers are going all out for the commemorations.

D-Day delight as King Charles makes trip to France

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris and Lauren Said-Moorhouse in London
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (54)

Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales, Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla attend the UK's national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 5, in Portsmouth, England.

Britain’s King Charles III is making the journey across the English channel for D-Day commemorations, in what will be his first overseas trip since being diagnosed with cancer.

He’ll be joined by Queen Camilla and Prince William, according to Buckingham Palace.

On Thursday morning, the 75-year-old monarch will attend the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion’s commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer. His son William will represent the royal family at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach.

Yesterday the King and senior royals joined leading politicians and veterans at the UK’s national commemorative event in Portsmouth. The city on England’s south coast is where Allied troops departed from ahead of the largest seaborne invasion in history on the German-occupied French coast across the English Channel.

In a speech on Wednesday, Charles praised veterans for their “courage, resilience and solidarity.”

The war in Ukraine casts its long shadow over commemorations

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris and Saskya Vandoorne in Arromanches-les-Bain, France
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (55)

A man holding a flag of Ukrainian 55th Artillery Brigade kneels down at a memorial area with Ukrainian and other countries flags commemorating fallen Ukrainian and foreign fighters at the Independence Square, in Kyiv, on May 27.

Thurday’s commemoration will carry heavy symbolic significance with war raging in eastern Europe. The war in Ukraine is expected to loom large over Thursday’s events, as it is the first major quinquennial commemoration of D-Day since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Europe has not seen the type of ground conflict that is raging in Ukraine since the end of WWII, and this year’s anniversary comes as Russian forces advance on the battlefield – handing Kyiv a series of tactical defeats and poking holes in the already fragile Western alliance opposed to the Kremlin’s war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has attended D-Day anniversaries in the past but was snubbed in 2019, was not invited again this year due to the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will attend the celebrations, given the parallels between the “historical reason of the invasion and the just battle that is being fought in Ukraine today,” the source added.

World leaders gather to mark 80 years since D-Day

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger in Paris and Saskya Vandoorne in Arromanches-les-Bain, France
Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy | CNN (56)

A Normandy veteran attends the UK's national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, hosted by the Ministry of Defence on Southsea Common in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

World leaders are descending on the beaches of Normandy on Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

By the end of the day on June 6, 1944, the allies had established a beachhead in France – a major turning point in the Western theater of World War II and, according to some historians, the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. Victory in Europe would come less than a year later.

US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among more than 20 heads of state and government expected to attend the bevy of events being held across Normandy to honor the nearly 160,000 Allied troops who carried out the largest seaborne invasion in the history of mankind – around 10,000 of whom were killed, injured or went missing in action.

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