Schoder to attend French D-Day service

Jan. 2, 2004 at 8:34 AM
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BONN, Germany, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has accepted an invitation from France to attend the 60th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy.

Marking a historic turn of events, Schroder accepted an invitation to attend a commemoration ceremony on the anniversary of the landing of Allied troops in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Sixty years after U.S., British and Canadian soldiers set foot on the French beaches and began their campaign to liberate Europe from Nazi forces, Schroder will become the first German leader to participate in the celebrations.

A French government spokeswoman told Deutsche Welle all invitations had been sent out. The guests include representatives from 15 nations, who attended key 50th anniversary celebrations in 1994 and those countries who contributed troops to the D-Day landings.

Schroder's attendance is expected to drive home a potent message of reconciliation between the two nations, one that has been made clearer in the past year as France and Germany teamed up to oppose the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

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