President Barack Obama honored the 70th anniversary of D-Day on Friday at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.
During his speech in front of world leaders and veterans, Obama honored the more than 150,000 allies that stormed the beaches at Normandy and other World War II veterans as those who “gave so much for the survival of liberty at its moment of maximum peril.”
He recounted the story of D-Day describing the “blood soaked the water” and the “thousands of rounds bit into flesh and sand” on the beaches of Normandy. He went on to say, “By the end of that longest day, this beach had been fought, lost, refought and won -- a piece of Europe once again liberated and free.”
On June 6, 1944, hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers stormed five beaches of northern France. The assault gave the Allies a foothold in Nazi-held France that eventually helped bring World War II to an end.
Seventy years later, French President Francois Hollande led the D-Day anniversary events, which include dinner with world leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain alongside the country’s prime minister, David Cameron.
This will be the first time Obama and Putin will meet since the crisis in Ukraine broke out. On Wednesday, Putin offered to speak with the U.S. president saying, “There is no reason to think President Obama does not want to talk to the Russian president,” Putin said. “It’s his choice. I am ready for dialogue.”
Below are photos from the day billed as “the beginning of the end of war in Europe.”
American soldiers landing on the coast of France under heavy machine gun fire on June 6, 1944. Photo: Reuters
General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the order of the Day, "Full victory-nothing else" to paratroopers in England just before they board their airplanes to participate in the first assault of the invasion. Photo: Reuters/File
American troops watch activity on Omaha Beach as their landing craft approaches the shore June 6, 1944. Photo: Reuters/U.S. National Archives/Handout
Canadian troops come ashore at a Juno Beach landing area on D-Day at Bernieres-sur Mer, France on June 6, 1944. Photo: Reuters/Ken Bell/National Archives of Canada/Handout via Reuters
Father (Major) Edward J. Waters, Catholic Chaplain from Oswego, New York, conducts Divine Services in Weymouth, England for members of the first assault troops of the D-Day landing. Photo: Reuters/Handout
Paratroopers get final instructions before leaving for Normandy. Photo: Reuters/Handout via National Archives.
C-47s bank for England after their CG-4A gliders have cut loose from their tow lines during the D-Day invasion. Photo: Reuters/Handout via U.S. Air Force
American troops on board a landing craft the night before D-Day. Photo: Reuters/File
Survivors of a landing craft sunk by enemy fire are helped ashore on Utah Beach. Photo: Reuters/File
U.S. Army soldiers of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, move out over the seawall on Utah Beach after coming ashore in front of a concrete wall near La Madeleine, France, June 6, 1944. Photo: Reuters/US National Archives/Army Signal Corps Collection/Handout via Reuters
U.S. Army soldiers recover the remains of comrades at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944 . Photo: Reuters/U.S. Library of Congress/Handout
Crossed rifles lay in the sand as a comrade's tribute to a dead American soldier. Photo: Reuters/U.S. Coast Guard/Handout
Two aircraft in flight over France after D-Day. Photo: Reuters/Handout via U.S. Air Force photo
A LCVP landing craft from USS Samuel Chase approaches "Omaha" Beach on "D-Day", June 6, 1944. The boat is smoking from a fire that resulted when a German machine gun bullet hit a hand grenade. Photo: Reuters/Handout via National Archives
Forward guns of USS Nevada fire on positions ashore, during the landings on "Utah" Beach, June 6, 1944. Photo: Reuters/Handout via National Archives.