Embassy Remembers D-Day With U.S. Veterans, Associations
On June 6, officials from the Embassy of France joined U.S. veterans and associations for two events in Virginia commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day. On the same date in 1944, Allied landings on France’s Normandy coast would mark a costly but decisive beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.
On the morning of this year’s June 6, a delegation from the Embassy of France took part in the events planned at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. Speaking during the event, Frédéric Doré, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of France, said, "France has not forgotten the sacrifice of your loved ones, and of the tens of thousands who perished... On behalf of the French people, let me say, thank you, America. We will never forget."
The Embassy also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony. Fifteen of them were placed at the site by groups from the U.S. military as well as personnel from the Embassies of countries whose troops landed in Normandy as a part of the Allied mission, called Operation Overlord.
Altogether, the ceremony at Bedford was attended by 300 D-Day veterans and 8,000 officials, families, and spectators. Tim Kaine, one of Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, was present also.
Following the program at Bedford, April Cheek Messier, President of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, stressed the importance of spending "every day dedicated to telling the story" of what took place at Normandy.
The second of the Embassy’s engagements occurred in Roanoke, Va., in the form of an honorary banquet. As the 30th annual event of its kind organized by Bernard Marie, a French-born resident of the city, the dinner gathered three dozen World War II veterans and their families, in addition to officials from U.S. and foreign militaries.
David Bowers, Mayor of Roanoke, attended and participated as one of the evening’s speakers. Roughly 400 diners in all came to enjoy the commemoration.
Olivier Serot-Alméras, the Consul General of France in Washington, provided a speech before awarding the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award, to three of the U.S. veterans present. Assisted by Brig. Gen. Bruno Caïtucoli, French Defense Attaché, the decorations were bestowed upon Lee Boone, Donald Englar, and to the son of Tyre Nicholson, who passed away one month prior.
The award was conferred to the men to recognize "all the personal sacrifices you made for the liberation of France and Europe," Mr. Serot-Alméras said. "In the darkest hours of our history, you, the American people, were there by our side."
View the pictures of celebrations that took place in different U.S. states to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy landings
Manhattan, (New York)
USS Texas Battleship (Texas)
SS Lane Victory - Los Angeles (California)
WWII Museum D-Day (Boston)
Trinity and Naples (Florida)
Columbia, (South Carolina)