D-Day anniversary events around US and abroad

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D-Day anniversary events around US and abroad
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - JUNE 06: U.S. President Barack Obama greets WWII Veterans during a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery on the 70th anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
An American veteran kisses US President Barack Obama (C) during a joint French-US D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-mer, Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Michel Colas (C) shows his grandsons Samuel Colas (L) and Rafael Schneider (R) the Normandy American Cemetery before the start of an official event with U.S. President Barack Obama June 6, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
BAYEUX, NORMANDY - JUNE 06: Queen Elizabeth II attends the D-Day 70 Commemorations on June 6, 2014 in Bayeux, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) speaks with a US veteran during a joint French-US D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-mer, Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets Britain's Prince Philip (R) following a British D-Day commemoration ceremony at the cathedral in Bayeux cemetery, northern France, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy.AFP PHOTO/POOL/Leon Neal (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
BAYEUX, NORMANDY - JUNE 06: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales lays a wreath at the foot of the Cross of Sacrifice in the centre of Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery during a service of remembrance on June 6, 2014 in Bayeux, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Jonathan Brady - Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) poses for a picture with a WWII veteran during a joint French-American D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-mer, Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - JUNE 06: WWII Veterans salute during the playing of 'Taps' at a ceremony with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Normandy American Cemetery on the 70th anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) and French President Francois Hollande participate in the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer June 6, 2014. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 70th anniversary since the launch of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / POOL / PASCAL ROSSIGNOL (Photo credit should read PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C), French President Francois Hollande (L) arrive through an honor guard to attend a joint French-US D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-mer, Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / POOL/ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Norwegian World War II veterans are welcomed as they arrive for a joint French-Norwegian D-Day commemoration ceremony in Hermanville-sur-Mer, Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER (Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Men wearing WWII British uniforms walk on June 6, 2014 in Asnelles, Normandy, during a ceremony on the 'Gold beach' where British troops landed on June 6, 1944 during the Operation Overlord. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 70th anniversary since the launch of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) and French President Francois Hollande lay a wreath during the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2014. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 70th anniversary since the launch of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the US military salute during the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2014. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 70th anniversary since the launch of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
ARROMANCHES LES BAINS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: WWII military vehicles and enthusiasts muster on Gold Beach at Arromanche to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, 2014 in Arromanches Les Bains, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
American veterans stand during a joint French-US D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-mer, Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
VIERVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - JUNE 06: (L-R) American, British, Canadian and French small flags are placed during gathering on the Omaha Beach to commemorate the sacrifices of the soldiers on June 6, 2014 in Vierville-sur-Mer, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
ARROMANCHES LES BAINS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: D-Day veteran Bill Price, aged 99, who celebrates his 100th birthday on July 24, poses on Gold Beach for well wishers after the last ever flag raising ceremony by the Surrey Normandy Veterans Association on June 6, 2014 in Arromanches Les Bains, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Friday is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings of Allied troops in Normandy, the largest amphibious invasion in history and a turning point in World War II. Here are some of the events held or planned around the United States and in France:

-OBAMA HONORS WWII GENERATION AT NORMANDY

President Barack Obama visited the hallowed beaches of Normandy in what he called a "powerful manifestation of America's commitment to human freedom" that lives on in a new generation.

Obama spoke from the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, where nearly 10,000 white marble tombstones sit on a bluff overlooking the site of the battle's most violent fighting at Omaha Beach. He described D-Day's violent scene in vivid terms, recalling that "by daybreak, blood soaked the water" and "thousands of rounds bit into flesh and sand."

"These men waged war so that we might know peace," Obama said, referring to the veterans of that fierce battle who traveled long distances to the remote historic site and received a long standing ovation when the president recognized them. "They sacrificed so that we might be free. They fought in hopes of a day when we'd no longer need to fight. We are grateful to them."

His speech came after he met privately with some of the dwindling number of surviving troops who fought Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, along with those who have served since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

-DIGNITARIES TAKE TO NORMANDY

Several men who stormed Normandy's shore 70 years ago joined world leaders in paying tribute to the 150,000 Allied troops who risked and lost their lives in the D-Day landings in Nazi-occupied France.

"France will never forget what it owes these soldiers, what it owes the United States," French President Francois Hollande said at the Normandy American Cemetery. "Vive l'Amerique! Vive la France! And long live the memory of those who fell here for our liberty."

In all, 19 world leaders, more than 1,000 veterans and many others gathered to honor the troops and civilians who fell in mighty battles that helped bring Europe peace and unity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a few German veterans also took part in Friday's ceremony, as a gesture of the European unity that the Allied victory brought. Ceremonies large and small were taking place across Normandy and around the world.

-US D-DAY VETS HONOR FALLEN COMRADES

As the sun came up over the Normandy coast, the seven returning vets from the 29th Infantry Division and their family members raised a toast to those who died where more than 150,000 other U.S., British, Canadian and other Allied forces came ashore on June 6, 1944.

At 6:30 a.m., the precise hour that the first waves of infantry began wading ashore under a deafening hailstorm of German machinegun and mortar fire, the men, most now in their 90s, raised glasses of bracing Calvados apple brandy to the memory of friends killed that day.

Hundreds of onlookers crowded the beach, including many re-enactors in period army uniforms. Some drove vintage jeeps and armored vehicles like those that would have been seen here 70 years ago.

A military band of serving 29th division members played taps and "Amazing Grace," before the seven vets walked off the beach to the applause of hundreds of onlookers.

-ROSE PETALS OVER LADY LIBERTY

France is set to say thank you to the United States for its help in World War II.

A pair of helicopters will shower 1 million rose petals on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The statue was a gift from France.

Also, 130 French and American children will unfurl flags and sing the countries' national anthems.

A 21-gun salute will honor veterans of the war and commemorate the invasion that led to the liberation of France from Nazi Germany.

-WREATH LAYING AT WWII MEMORIAL

The National Park Service and the Friends of the World War II Memorial will commemorate the anniversary with a ceremony and wreath laying at the World War II Memorial in Washington.

D-Day veterans, along with representatives from the Allied Nations that participated in the Normandy Campaign, will take part in laying wreaths along the Memorial's Freedom Wall.

Participants also include Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Elliot "Toby" Roosevelt III, great-grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

-WWII MUSEUM MARKS D-DAY

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, which opened June 6, 2000, as The National D-Day Museum, scheduled two days of activities starting with a ceremony at 6:30 a.m. to mark the hour at which Allied troops began slogging through waist-high surf toward Normandy beaches.

The ceremony will include presentation of the French Legion of Honor to veterans who served in France. The French government decided several years ago that all U.S. World War II veterans who fought there or contributed to its liberation are eligible for the medal.

A war game Saturday, with dice deciding success or failure of the players' tactics, will take place on a diorama of Normandy's beaches. The diorama will be displayed for the full weekend.

-PARACHUTE JUMP AT FORT BRAGG

Fort Bragg is marking the 70th anniversary of the largest airborne assault in history with a parachute jump. More than 300 paratroopers take to the North Carolina skies on Friday to remember the soldiers who jumped into Nazi-occupied northern France on June 6, 1944. Paratroopers from Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division were among the first soldiers to fight in Normandy.

The Fort Bragg soldiers on Friday will receive a history presentation about the D-Day operation and watch a video before donning their parachutes and jumping onto the post's Normandy Drop Zone.

-FINDING ROOM FOR D-DAY MEMORIAL TOURISTS

Organizers are expecting up to 10,000 visitors to National D-Day Memorial events in Bedford, Virginia. Bedford has only two hotels, and Nicole Johnson with the National D-Day Memorial Foundation tells The Roanoke Times that event organizers are working with tourism groups to ensure visitors have a place to stay.

The Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center is expecting 400 people to attend its annual dinner for the D-Day anniversary. Sales associate Heather Massey says guests are flying in from as far as France, Ireland and England.

-HISTORIC WARSHIP SALUTES ANNIVERSARY

The nation's oldest commissioned warship and the Massachusetts National Guard are teaming up to salute the anniversary.

The USS Constitution, whose service dates back to 1797, will leave its berth in Charlestown Navy Yard on Friday morning and sail to Castle Island to fire a cannon salute to the historic Fort Independence fortification on Boston Harbor. The National Guard's 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment will fire its ceremonial cannons in return.

The custom dates to 1797, when the new USS Constitution saluted the fort, which had transferred that year from the state to U.S. government service.

-U.S. FLAG SELLS FOR $350,000

A U.S. flag from one of the thousands of Allied ships that delivered troops to the Normandy beaches sold Thursday for $350,000 at a New York City auction of hundreds of D-Day and other World War II artifacts.

An unnamed online buyer won the spirited bidding at Bonhams in Manhattan for the flag that flew aboard the U.S.-built LST 493. The flag went for far more than the pre-sale estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.

The auction also featured rare printouts of the original series of hourly Dow Jones news bulletins with some of the first reports of the fighting on France's north coast. They fetched $10,000. The flag and documents were owned by military collector and historian Rodney Hilton Brown.

The auction also included battlefield souvenirs, innovative wartime technology, rare documents and photographs from the war's European and Pacific theaters.

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