World leaders gather at Normandy to honor D-Day

The ceremony took place where over 9,000 U.S. servicemen are buried.
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  June 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM
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COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER , France, June 6 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande spoke in a Normandy cemetery Friday to honor the 70th anniversary of World War II's D-Day invasion.

"What more powerful manifestation of America's commitment to human freedom than the sight of wave after wave after wave of young men boarding those boats to liberate people they had never met? We say it now as if it couldn't be any other way. But in the annals of history, the world had never seen anything like it." Obama said in his speech during a ceremony at the American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, near Omaha Beach. His remarks were made from a stage on which sat a group of the diminishing number of survivors of the assault.

The cemetery holds the remains of 9,387 U.S. servicemen.

The D-Day invasion of Allied troops onto the shores of northern France, on June 6, 1944, marked a turning point in the war and is regarded among the greatest military events in history.

Hollande also recalled the day in his address, and thanked the allies for the liberation of his country. The emotional ceremony included a military flyover and the laying of wreaths.

Prior a luncheon later, Obama spoke briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first time they met face-to-face since Russia annexed Crimea. Their talk was informal and lasted only 10 to 15 minutes. The D-Day ceremonies also brought Putin and Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko together for a short meeting, in the company of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Obama and Putin were deliberately not seated together at the luncheon.

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