- Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy, France.
- Allied troops mostly from the UK, the US, and Canada landed on five beaches on the French coast to liberate France from Nazi occupation.
- Service members, veterans, politicians, and World War II reenactors gathered in England and France to commemorate the landings with military spectacle.
- See photos of the event below.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy, where Allied troops invaded the French coast to liberate the country from Nazi occupation.
On June 6, 1944, a combined 156,000 troops mostly from Britain, the US, and Canada landed on five beaches to attack German forces, the start of a campaign to liberate northwestern Europe from the Nazis.
It was the largest naval, air, and land operation ever attempted. On that day alone, some 4,400 Allied troops died, and 4,000 to 9,000 German troops are believed to have died, the BBC reported. Thousands of French civilians also died.
Service members, veterans, politicians, and World War II reenactors gathered in England and France’s seasides to commemorate the event on Wednesday and Thursday.
The affair included a Royal Air Force flyover in Portsmouth, England, nonagenarian veterans parachuting over Normandy, and vintage military jeeps lining up on the beach.
Scroll down to see pictures.
Celebrations started getting underway in both England and France on Wednesday. Here, military jeeps lined Arromanches beach in Normandy to prepare for Thursday’s celebrations.
In Portsmouth, England, the aeronautics team of Britain’s Royal Air Force — known as the Red Arrows — performed a flyover.
People lined the beach in Portsmouth to see the event.
Military veterans also took part in the celebration. A 97-year-old US World War II paratrooper veteran named Tom Rice made a commemorative parachute jump over Carentan, a small town in Normandy, on Wednesday.
Rice served with the 101st Airbone Division during World War II, Reuters reported.
“It went perfect,” Rice said after his jump, according to Reuters. “Perfect jump.”
Two-hundred-and-eighty paratroopers also took part in a parachute jump over Sannerville, France, that same day.
Across the Channel, a 95-year-old British D-Day veteran named Harry Read also made a commemorative parachute jump on Wednesday. He described his jump as “thoroughly enjoyable.”
Read was 20 years old when he leaped out of his transport aircraft under the cover of darkness with the British 6th Airborne Division, Reuters reported.
“It was a different world then. It was a world that requires young men like myself to be prepared to die for a civilisation that was worth living in,” Read said, according to the news agency.
“So there was a very heavy necessity for young men like me to put my life on the line,” he said. “My life wasn’t on the line today.”
Some 100 miles away, British Prime Minister Theresa May boarded HMS Queen Elizabeth — the country’s biggest warship — and waved to British veterans on the MV Boudicca cruise ship, who were leaving for Normandy by sea on Wednesday.
A Royal Air Force Spitfire also flew above MV Boudicca as it sailed to Normandy.
At dawn on Thursday, a group of World War II enthusiasts gathered at Normandy’s Omaha Beach to reenact the landings 75 years ago.
Here, two reenactors carried a US flag to remember the American troops who took part in the landings.
Later in the day, visitors walked past vintage military jeeps lined up on Arromanches beach.
By 10:47 a.m. local time (9:47 a.m. BST, 4:47 a.m. ET), dozens of visitors had thronged the beach to see the vintage vehicles.
World War II-era boats also sailed past the beach as part of the commemoration.
Over on Asnelles beach in Normandy, visitors dressed up in period fashion danced on the beach next to old military vehicles on display.
And on Collevillette beach, British bagpipers played music.
It was a fitting tribute to Bill Millin, a Scottish bagpiper who played highland tunes as his fellow troops landed in Normandy – even though England’s War Office had banned the instrument from the front line.
Millin died in 2010.
Source: The Scotsman
Roy Maxwell, a 97-year-old British D-Day veteran, stood alongside French soldiers at the same beach.
French police officers stood on top of an old bunker to watch over D-Day commemorations at Juno Beach in Normandy.
The UK prime minister also hosted a joint ceremony to mark the landings with French President Emmanuel Macron at Ver-sur-Mer. May reportedly said “thank you” to the veterans, and Macron said Britain and France owed them “our freedom,” the BBC reported.
US President Donald Trump also took part in the commemoration, joining Macron at Omaha Beach after visiting the UK and Ireland. Here he appeared to place a cap saying “World War II Veteran” on a veteran’s head.
House Speaker Nansy Pelosi, Sen. James Lankford, and Sen. John Barrasso were also at the event, according to White House pool reporters.
“We come not only because of what they did here, we come because of who they were,” Trump told a ceremony alongside Macron.
“Today, America embraces the French people and thanks you for honouring our beloved dead,” the US president said.
“We come not only because of what they did here, we come because of who they were. They were young men with their entire lives before them. They were husbands who said goodbye to their young brides and took their duty as their fate.”
Source: White House pool report
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