Celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day operation were held at Colleville-Sur-Mer commune in France last Thursday that were attended, among other dignitaries, by French President Emmanuel Macron, US president Donald Trump or UK Prime Minister Theresa May. French President honoured American D-Day combatants, yet also highlighted the need to re-engage with the principles of multilateralism, pointing at the historical promise of Normandy.
“We know what we owe to you, our veterans: our freedom. On behalf of my country, I want to say ‘thank you’,” praised Macron and awarded the Legion d’honneur, France’s highest award for merit, to five US veterans. France’s president also appealed to the message of the Normandy landings, saying that “these allied forces that together freed us from the German yoke, and from tyranny, are the same ones that were able to build the existing multilateral structures after World War Two” and called for not repeating the history. US President Trump whose administration is known for its “America Fist” policymaking and diplomacy has not commented on the statement.
“You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live,” Trump proclaimed as he turned to the surviving veterans. “You are the pride of our nation, you are the glory of our republic and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” The Normandy landings had been secretly planned for months. On 6 June 1944, around 73.000 US combatants landed at Utah and Omaha beaches as part of Operation Overlord. Some veterans say the sea and sand turned red with blood during the operation. Many US troops were shot by German machine-guns as they climbed the cliffs to reach Colleville-Sur-Mer. Today the US cemetery is located there.