D-Day 80th anniversary ceremonies

World leaders and veterans gather in Normandy on Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings, when more than 150,000 Allied soldiers invaded France in a major turning point of World War Two.

Here is what you need to know about the events:


– With war raging on Europe’s borders, in Ukraine, this anniversary’s D-Day events carry special resonance.

– The number of British, American, Canadian and French veterans still alive is dwindling fast. This is one of the last major ceremonies on Normandy’s beaches to honor a significant number of survivors.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden disembark from Air Force One after arriving at Caen Carpiquet Airport in France on June 6, 2024. AFP via Getty Images


– Around 4,500 guests are expected, including about 200 veterans, mostly from the US, Britain, Canada and France. Among them will be 101-year old US Army veteran Jake Larson.

– US President Joe Biden will be there while on a state visit to France.

– Russia will not be represented. President Vladimir Putin was never on the guest list due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Biden greets a World War II veteran during ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2024. AP
Christophe Receveur, of France, unfurls an American flag purchased in Gettysburg, PA, on Utah Beach, Normandy on June 6, 2024. AP
Visitors pay their respects at the Normandy American Cemetery above Omaha Beach on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Getty Images

But France had initially invited Russia’s ambassador in recognition of his country’s massive sacrifices during World War Two, before rescinding the invitation.

– Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will take part “in view of the historical resonance of the landing with the just fight that the Ukrainian nation is leading today,” a French presidency source said. As for Russia, “the conditions for its participation are not met, considering the war of aggression it launched in 2022,” the source added.

– Britain’s King Charles, Queen Camilla and Prince William will be among the guests, along with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

– Charles will take part in the morning British ceremony but will miss the international Omaha Beach ceremony on the advice of medical staff as he continues to recover from cancer.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, Britain’s Prince William and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greet a Canadian veteran at the Juno Beech Center in northwestern France on June 6, 2024. POOL/AFP via Getty Images
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden disembark Marine One as they walk around Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France on June 6, 2024. REUTERS
Biden hugs a WWII veteran at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. REUTERS
Biden speaks with US WWII veteran Sydney “Sid” Edson (R) during the US ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II “D-Day” Allied landings. AFP via Getty Images


– Ceremonies will kick off at around 8:30 a.m. at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer. Canada will hold its own ceremony at 9:00 a.m., attended by Prince William.

At around 10:00 a.m., Biden will lead a US ceremony in the presence of D-Day veterans.

And at 1:00 pm., Macron will preside over an international ceremony at Omaha Beach, where US forces suffered their greatest casualties in the assault against heavily fortified German defenses.

Reenactors stand against the sunrise at Utah Beach in the early morning of the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2024. AP
King Charles III and Queen Camilla attend the UK Ministry of Defense and Royal British Legion’s commemorative event on June 6, 2024. Getty Images

At around 4:00 p.m., world leaders are expected to gather in Caen for diplomatic talks.

– On June 7, Biden will deliver remarks at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, about the importance of defending freedom and democracy.

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