US, allied forces reunite on D-Day to remember, call for continued fight against tyranny

Most of the veterans on the stage were in wheelchairs, but each one stood – many with visible difficulty and some needing physical assistance – to receive their honor.

Published: June 6, 2024 9:59pm

President Joe Biden used remarks Thursday at the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings  in France to call for stronger international cooperation and to take a swipe at Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Biden spoke at a special tribute event adjacent to the U.S. cemetery in Normandy along with French President Emmanuel Macron. World War II-era planes flew overhead and the national anthems of both countries were played. 

The two leaders shared the stage with a few dozen of the nearly 200 American D-Day veterans who were able to make the trip to France to commemorate the anniversary of the day allied forces began pushing German Nazi troops in northern Europe back to their capital, where the war ended 11 months later.

The average age of the D-Day veterans in Normandy for the anniversary of the June 6, 1994 allied-forces invasion, is about 100.

Macron presented multiple U.S. veterans with prestigious National Order of the Legion of Honor medals, then embraced each one. Biden followed suit, giving each a medallion minted to commemorate the date and having a short chat with each honoree.

Most of the veterans on the stage were in wheelchairs, but each one stood – many with visible difficulty and some needing physical assistance – to receive their honor.

“What the allies did together 80 years ago far surpassed anything we could have done on our own,” Biden said. “Together we won the war.”

He also drew a parallel between the work of allies’ World War II fight against then-German leader Adolf Hitler and Ukraine’s fight against Putin, calling both “a fight against a tyrant bent on domination.” 

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy was also in Normandy for the anniversary, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Rishi Sunak from the U.K., and Britain's King Charles III. But Putin, who has participated in previous D Day anniversaries, was not invited this year.

All told, some two dozen heads of state or government or representatives of European royal families were in Normandy for the commemoration. As per tradition, Germany and Italy, which were on the European antagonists in World War II, did not send high-level delegations.

Also on hand were actor Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg, whose 1998 epic war film “Saving Private Ryan” started with a graphic depiction of the D Day landings so realistic it reportedly gave some veterans of the landings flashbacks and panic attacks. 

The anniversary celebrations have taken over the entire Normandy region in Northern France, with each town holding special events and the roads full of reenactors in period uniforms and driving hundreds of refurbished World War II Jeeps and personnel carriers.

There were multiple exhibitions of World War II tanks and fighter planes. Buildings exhibited flags of the four main countries that made up the invading force: Canada, France, the U.K., and the U.S.

“The brave men who arrived in Normandy 80 years ago saved Europe from Nazi domination and should be remembered and honored for that alone,” Frank Sullivan, 56, a Virginia native and reenactor who was dressed as a World War II medic Thursday, told JTN. “But this year it’s especially relevant because there are new wars and new threats to our way of life and this anniversary can remind us how important it is to protect our values and to stand strong when needed.”

Madison Reed, 66, a Vietnam veteran from Texas who was dressed as a tank commander, said that the anniversary had multiple lessons to teach people today. 

“It shows us how terrible war is and how important it is for a country to be ready to defend itself when there is no other option,” Reed told JTN. 

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News