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Europe Marks the 80th Anniversary of the Allied Normandy Landings

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Photo: Europe Marks the 80th Anniversary of the Allied Normandy Landings. Source: normandie.fr
Photo: Europe Marks the 80th Anniversary of the Allied Normandy Landings. Source: normandie.fr

On June 6th, France commemorates the 80th anniversary of "D-Day," the commencement of the Allied operation against Hitler known as "Overlord," and the landing in Normandy. World leaders, including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, King Charles III of the United Kingdom, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, as well as 200 veterans who participated in the events, have gathered for the anniversary celebrations, CNN reports.

Global leaders have assembled in Normandy to honour the events that signalled the beginning of Western Europe's liberation from Nazism. Following the success of Operation Overlord, the Allies gained the strategic initiative, dashing Nazi hopes of a separate peace that would have allowed them to focus all their forces on the Eastern Front against the advancing Soviet troops.

During his speech at the ceremonial celebration, US President Joe Biden emphasized the importance of allied relations and the strength and unity of NATO.

"Here we proved that the ideas of democracy are stronger than any army or combination of armies in the world. We also proved something else: the unbreakable unity of the Allies," Biden remarked.

President Biden also referenced Russia's war against Ukraine, the largest conflict in Europe since the end of World War II.

"The struggle between dictatorship and freedom is eternal. Here in Europe, we see a clear example. Part of Ukraine has been seized by a tyrant who seeks to dominate. We cannot allow what happened here to fade into the silence of coming years. We must remember it, honour it, and live by it. Democracy is never guaranteed," the US President stated.

Upon arriving in France, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the example of the Allies 80 years ago inspires Ukraine in its fight for freedom.

"This event and this day remind us of the courage and determination shown for the sake of freedom and democracy. The Allies defended Europe's freedom then; Ukrainians are doing so now. Unity prevailed then, and true unity can prevail now," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

It is noteworthy that since 2004, German representatives have participated in the Normandy landing commemorations. However, this year, representatives from Russia, which is waging an aggressive war in Ukraine, were not invited to the celebrations.

To recap, Operation Overlord began on June 6, 1944 ("D-Day") with the landing of over 150,000 soldiers on the Normandy coast and was conducted in two main phases. The first phase involved an airborne operation with the deployment of over 15,000 British, American, Canadian, and French paratroopers after midnight. The second phase consisted of an amphibious assault, starting in the morning at 6:30 a.m., involving over 140,000 troops.

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