US President Barack Obama has paid homage to the heroes of D-Day in a speech at the American cemetery in Coleville-Sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha beach in Normandy, France.
Their assault, exactly 65 years ago helped save the world from evil and tyranny, he said.
“The Second War represented a special moment in history when nations fought together to battle a murderous ideology,” he added.
White-haired veterans, their numbers ever dwindling, listened in silence.
First, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown emphasised the unity that emerged from the conflict.
“On June 1944 at this place and in that moment Europe and America came closer together that in any time in any century and we are eternal allies now because of this,” he said.
Speaking on the hallowed ground where 9,387 American soldiers lie, President Obama said the war against Nazi Germany paved the way for years of prosperity.
“Friends and veterans we can not forget, what we must not forget is that D-Day was a time and a place where the bravery and selflessness of the few was able to change the course of an entire century.”
After the speeches The French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented one American, one Briton, one Canadian and a Frenchman with the country’s highest accolade, the Legion d’Honneur.
After the D-Day ceremonies President Obama and his family will return to Paris where they plan to visit Notre Dame cathedral. They are due to fly back to the US tomorrow.