President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump joined Wednesday with other world leaders commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the “day of days” when Allied forces invaded Nazi-occupied northern France.
The June 6, 1944 invasion, codenamed Operation Overlord, was commanded by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower. More than 150,000 allied troops took part in what is still the largest amphibious assault in history. There were thousands of casualties, but it would prove to be the turning point of World War Two.
The ceremonies took part in Portsmouth, England. Located on the southern coast, the city was a primary departure point for the Allied forces striking out across the English Channel to invade Normandy.
President Trump sat alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth II and leaders from the other nations that took part in the Allied D-Day invasion.
Those nations included Canada, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland, CBS News reported.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leader of the country that was the enemy, was also on hand.
Trump, flanked by National Security Adviser John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, met briefly with Merkel on the sidelines of D-Day ceremonies.
“On June 6th, 1944, tens of thousands of young warriors left these shores by the sea and air to begin the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Europe and the brutal Nazi occupation,” President Trump said in a press conference on Tuesday, according to CBS News. “It was a liberation like few people have seen before. Among them were more than 130,000 American and British brothers-in-arms. Through their valor and sacrifice, they secured our homelands and saved freedom for the world.”
Earlier in the day, U.S. Army Rangers climbing the jagged cliffs of Normandy’s Pointe du Hoc to honor the men who scaled them under fire 75 years ago, Fox News reported.
Parachutists also jumped from World War Two-era C-47 transporters on the outskirts of Carentan, one of the early objectives for Allied troops.
On Thursday, the president and first lady will join with French President Emmanuel Macron to attend commemoration services at the U.S. Cemetery in Normandy.
Thousands of American casualties who died on D-Day are laid to rest there, having given their lives to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.
World leaders took part in Wednesday’s ceremonies, to include Trump and the Queen.
Reciting a D-Day prayer delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president read: “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. They will need Thy blessings. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.”
Queen Elizabeth recalled a speech her father King George VI gave during the invasion, as she spoke of the resiliency of her generation.
“The fate of the world depended on their success,” she said of the soldiers who went into battle. “Many of them would never return and the heroism, courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives will never be forgotten.”
“My father, King George, said – we need a revival of spirit. That is exactly what those brave men brought to the battle. On behalf of the entire country, I say to you all, thank you.”
Just as she has throughout the state visit to the United Kingdom, first lady Melania Trump was a fashion beacon.
Dressed in an all white ensemble Wednesday, a very dignified Mrs. Trump was the epitome of class and grace.
Here are additional photos of other world leaders who took part in commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day:
Video of the entire 75th anniversary D-Day Tribute can be seen below:
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