‘Freedom’s Altar’: Leaders pay tribute at D-Day ceremonies

Excerpts from the speeches of some of the world leaders gathered in France to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that helped liberate Europe from Nazi Germany:

President Donald Trump of the United States:

“We are gathered here on freedom’s altar. On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, ten thousand men shed their blood — and thousands sacrificed their lives — for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty. Today, we remember those who fell here, and we honor all who fought here. They won back this ground for civilization.”

President Emmanuel Macron of France:

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“France will never forget the 2 million soldiers who at the end of this longest day would continue fighting on for weeks to free the towns and villages of Normandy and would go through the hell of combat in the Normandy countryside, which was even more treacherous than the combat on the beaches. On behalf of France, on behalf of our nation, I bow down before their bravery, I bow down before the immense sacrifice of the 37,000 killed and 19,000 reported missing who died as heroes in Normandy between June and August of 1944, and who for many were to rest there for eternity. I bow down before our veterans and I say thank you.”

Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain:

“Standing here, as the waves wash quietly onto the shore, it’s almost impossible to grasp the raw courage that it must have taken that day to leap out from landing craft and into the surf — despite the fury of battle. No one could be certain what the 6th June would bring. No one would know how this — the most ambitious amphibious and airborne assault in all of human history — would turn out. And, as the sun rose that morning, not one of the troops on the landing craft approaching these shores, not one of the pilots in the skies above, not one of the sailors at sea knew whether they would still be alive when it set once again.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada:

“I stand here knowing that I can never fully understand what our brave men and women in uniform experienced and can never forget. Only those who threw themselves against the walls of the fortress of Europe in Normandy know the full extent of what unfolded here 75 years ago. But it is the responsibility of all Canadians to ensure that their story and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

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