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French beaches at dawn set scene for solemn D-Day observance

Updated : 2019-06-06 12:50:21

The five beaches are silent at dawn but forever haunted. When the sun rises Thursday over the Normandy coastline where thousands of men bled and died 75 years ago, the diminishing number of World War II veterans who know firsthand of the sacrifices that were made to dismantle tyranny will remember D-Day and hope the world never forgets. After Britain's spirited anniversary tribute to the derring-do of the Allied forces that set off from England to defend democracy, the commemoration will be comparatively solemn in France, the country where so many young lives ended in sand and sea on June 6, 1944. Leaders from the United States, Britain, Canada, France — and then-foe and now ally Germany — will once again laud the troops who stormed the fortified Normandy beaches to help turn the tide of the war and give birth to a new Europe, since at peace. A ceremony at daybreak will mark the time when the first troops landed. Remembrances are taking place throughout the day at the military cemeteries where countries buried their fallen citizens.

French enthusiast Julien watches the English channel from Omaha beach, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the UK and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
French enthusiast Julien watches the English channel from Omaha beach, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the UK and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
D-Day veterans, front row, stand on stage during an event to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth, England Wednesday, June 5, 2019. World leaders including US President Donald Trump are gathering Wednesday on the south coast of England to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
D-Day veterans, front row, stand on stage during an event to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth, England Wednesday, June 5, 2019. World leaders including US President Donald Trump are gathering Wednesday on the south coast of England to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Cows watch WWII enthusiasts driving a jeep in Colleville-Sur-Mer, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Cows watch WWII enthusiasts driving a jeep in Colleville-Sur-Mer, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Charles, poses for a formal photograph with leaders of the other Allied Nations ahead of the National Commemorative Event commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, England, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Back row from left: Canada PM Justin Trudeau, Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel, Norway PM Erna Solberg, Belgium PM Charles Michel. Front row from left: Britain's Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, and US President Donald Trump. Commemoration events are marking the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in northern France during World War II.(Jack Hill/Pool via AP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Charles, poses for a formal photograph with leaders of the other Allied Nations ahead of the National Commemorative Event commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, England, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Back row from left: Canada PM Justin Trudeau, Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel, Norway PM Erna Solberg, Belgium PM Charles Michel. Front row from left: Britain's Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, and US President Donald Trump. Commemoration events are marking the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in northern France during World War II.(Jack Hill/Pool via AP)
US World War II D-Day veteran Tom Rice, from Coronado, CA, after parachuting in a tandem jump into a field in Carentan, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Approximately 200 parachutists participated in the jump over Normandy on Wednesday, replicating a jump made by US soldiers on June 6, 1944, as a prelude to the seaborne invasions on D-Day. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
US World War II D-Day veteran Tom Rice, from Coronado, CA, after parachuting in a tandem jump into a field in Carentan, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Approximately 200 parachutists participated in the jump over Normandy on Wednesday, replicating a jump made by US soldiers on June 6, 1944, as a prelude to the seaborne invasions on D-Day. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
WWII enthusiasts watch French and British parachutists jumping during a commemorative parachute jump over Sannerville, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
WWII enthusiasts watch French and British parachutists jumping during a commemorative parachute jump over Sannerville, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
WWII enthusiasts watches French and British parachutists jumping during a commemorative parachute jump over Sannerville, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.  (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
WWII enthusiasts watches French and British parachutists jumping during a commemorative parachute jump over Sannerville, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.  (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A member of the Canadian Armed Forces holds a photo of a Canadian World War II soldier during a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fell on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
A member of the Canadian Armed Forces holds a photo of a Canadian World War II soldier during a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fell on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veterans and other guests attend a commemoration ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veterans and other guests attend a commemoration ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veteran Jim Warford, center, arrives for a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The cemetery contains 2,049 headstones marking the dead of the 3rd Division and graves of 15 airmen. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veteran Jim Warford, center, arrives for a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The cemetery contains 2,049 headstones marking the dead of the 3rd Division and graves of 15 airmen. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
President of France Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Canadian Lt.-Gen. Richard Rohmer after speaking during the D-Day 75th Anniversary event in Portsmouth, England Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Queen Elizabeth II and world leaders gathered Wednesday on the south coast of England to honor the troops who risked and gave their lives 75 years ago on D-Day, a bloody but ultimately triumphant turning point in World War II. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
President of France Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Canadian Lt.-Gen. Richard Rohmer after speaking during the D-Day 75th Anniversary event in Portsmouth, England Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Queen Elizabeth II and world leaders gathered Wednesday on the south coast of England to honor the troops who risked and gave their lives 75 years ago on D-Day, a bloody but ultimately triumphant turning point in World War II. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
Canadian World War II veterans and other guests attend a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fought and died on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veterans and other guests attend a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fought and died on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veteran Sidney Cole salutes as he attends a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veteran Sidney Cole salutes as he attends a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
French president Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony at the Caen prison to pay tribute to French resistants as part of D-Day ceremonies in Caen, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. On June 5, 1944, the Germans have shot 80-85 persons at the prison of Caen, including 71 who have been identified, members of Resistance. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, pool)
French president Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony at the Caen prison to pay tribute to French resistants as part of D-Day ceremonies in Caen, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. On June 5, 1944, the Germans have shot 80-85 persons at the prison of Caen, including 71 who have been identified, members of Resistance. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, pool)
French president Emmanuel Macron poses for a group picture after a ceremony at the Caen prison to pay tribute to French resistants as part of D-Day ceremonies in Caen, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, pool)
French president Emmanuel Macron poses for a group picture after a ceremony at the Caen prison to pay tribute to French resistants as part of D-Day ceremonies in Caen, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, pool)
A small wooden cross that reads:
A small wooden cross that reads: "In memory of a fallen soldier no matter the nation" rests at the burial of a German soldier who died during WWII at the Bayeux War cemetery in Bayeux, Normandy region of France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young girl places a flower in a British soldier burial fallen during WWII at the Bayeux War cemetery in Bayeux, Normandy region of France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young girl places a flower in a British soldier burial fallen during WWII at the Bayeux War cemetery in Bayeux, Normandy region of France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Members of an American landing unit help their comrades ashore during the Normandy invasion. The men reached the zone code-named Utah Beach, near Sainte- Mere-Eglise, on a life raft after their landing craft was hit and sunk by German coastal defenses. June 6, 1944. (Louis Weintraub/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Members of an American landing unit help their comrades ashore during the Normandy invasion. The men reached the zone code-named Utah Beach, near Sainte- Mere-Eglise, on a life raft after their landing craft was hit and sunk by German coastal defenses. June 6, 1944. (Louis Weintraub/Pool Photo via AP, File)
US Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, left, gives the order of the day to paratroopers in England prior to boarding their planes to participate in the first assault of the Normandy invasion. A dwindling number of D-Day veterans will be on hand in Normandy in June 2019, when international leaders gather to honor them on the invasion’s 75th anniversary. June 6, 1944. (US Army Signal Corps via AP)
US Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, left, gives the order of the day to paratroopers in England prior to boarding their planes to participate in the first assault of the Normandy invasion. A dwindling number of D-Day veterans will be on hand in Normandy in June 2019, when international leaders gather to honor them on the invasion’s 75th anniversary. June 6, 1944. (US Army Signal Corps via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump, right, walk in the courtyard of the Invalides in Paris. France wants the D-Day commemoration to showcase its long friendship with the US. July 13, 2017. (AP Photo /Matthieu Alexandre, File)
French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump, right, walk in the courtyard of the Invalides in Paris. France wants the D-Day commemoration to showcase its long friendship with the US. July 13, 2017. (AP Photo /Matthieu Alexandre, File)
American soldiers ride horses captured from the retreating Germans are met by town residents as they enter the French town of Chambois, Normandy, France. D-Day marked only the beginning of the Allied struggle to wrest Europe from the Nazis. Aug. 30, 1944 (AP Photo, File)
American soldiers ride horses captured from the retreating Germans are met by town residents as they enter the French town of Chambois, Normandy, France. D-Day marked only the beginning of the Allied struggle to wrest Europe from the Nazis. Aug. 30, 1944 (AP Photo, File)
An enthusiast stands on the beach of Arromanches, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
An enthusiast stands on the beach of Arromanches, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, climb the cliff of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, US Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs to seize German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, climb the cliff of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, US Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs to seize German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Planes fly over as Rangers of the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Planes fly over as Rangers of the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Rangers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, hold the American flag after scaling the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Rangers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, hold the American flag after scaling the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
People walk on Omaha beach, Normandy, where an American is planted, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
People walk on Omaha beach, Normandy, where an American is planted, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
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