Obama says D-Day decided fate of freedom

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Obama says D-Day decided fate of freedom
US President Barack Obama (L) speaks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano during the Ouistreham International Ceremony at Sword Beach to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy, in Ouistreham, 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)
Soldiers stand as US President Barack Obama (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) are pictured on a giant screen during the international D-Day commemoration ceremony on the beach of Ouistreham, 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)
US President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to attend the international D-Day commemoration ceremony on the beach of Ouistreham, 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)
US President Barack Obama (C) and French President Francois Hollande (R) speak to World War II veteran Kenneth 'Rock' Merritt as they arrive for an official lunch at Benouville Castle on June 6, 2014. World leaders and veterans gathered by the beaches of Normandy on to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy on D-Day during World War II. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Regis Duvignau (Photo credit should read REGIS DUVIGNAU/AFP/Getty Images)
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - JUNE 06: U.S. President Barack Obama joins 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 Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks during the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, on June 6, 2014. Leaders and dignitaries from around the world traveled to attend events commemorating the June 6, 1944 Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy during World War II. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a group photo past US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth during a group photo of world leaders attending the D-Day 70th Anniversary ceremonies at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville, France, June 6, 2014. The D-Day ceremonies mark the 70th anniversary of the launching 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)
Queen Elizabeth II speaks with US President Barack Obama during a group photo of world leaders attending the D-Day 70th Anniversary ceremonies at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville, France, June 6, 2014. The D-Day ceremonies mark the 70th anniversary of the launching 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)
US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande (L) arrive through an honor guard 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)
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - JUNE 06: U.S. President Barack Obama joins WWII Veterans during the playing of the national anthem at 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)
US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande (L) stand alongside D-Day veterans during the National Anthems 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)
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with WWII veterans as he arrives to attend the international D-Day commemoration ceremony on the beach of Ouistreham, 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: 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. June 6th is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings that saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United States and the United Kingdom join forces to launch an attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama delivers a speech 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 / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) and French President Francois Hollande (L) arrive for a joint French-US D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-mer, northern France, 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)
US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande (L) stand alongside D-Day veterans during the National Anthems 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)
US President Barack Obama participates 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 (L) and French President Francois Hollande (R) look out over Omaha Beach 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 / POOL/ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/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)
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)
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PARIS (AP) -- President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Thursday designating June 6, 2014, as D-Day National Remembrance Day. He called on Americans to honor those who fought and died so that others might be free with this proclamation:

On June 6, 1944, before dawn broke across the beaches of Normandy, scores of Allied service members prepared to fight a battle that would decide the fate of freedom in the 20th century. The odds weighed against them. That year, the Nazis had fortified the Atlantic Wall against a seaborne invasion, lined the coast with mines and planted sharpened poles to await Allied paratroopers. On D-Day, American, British and Canadian forces advanced through thickets of barbed wire and scaled heavily protected cliffs. They braved gales of bullets and artillery fire, taking heavy losses as they cut through Nazi defenses. Thousands gave their last full measure of devotion, and by the end of the day, the ground on which they died was free once more.

Victory on D-Day dealt a significant blow to an ideology fueled by hatred. It allowed America and our Allies to secure a foothold in France, open a path to Berlin and liberate a continent from the grip of tyranny. It made possible the achievements that followed the end of World War II - the Marshall Plan, the NATO alliance and the shared prosperity and security that flowed from each.

Seventy years later, we pay tribute to the service members who secured a beachhead on an unforgiving shore - the patriots who, through their courage and sacrifice, changed the course of an entire century. Today, as we carry on the struggle for liberty and universal human rights, let us draw strength from a moment when free nations beat back the forces of oppression and gave new hope to the world.

Obama Honors World War II Veterans

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 6, 2014, as D-Day National Remembrance Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies and activities that honor those who fought and died so men and women they had never met might know what it is to be free.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

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