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Trump joins world leaders in marking 75th D-Day anniversary

President Trump was spending Wednesday and Thursday with other world leaders commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied northern France by Allied forces. The risky maneuver launched on June 6, 1944 saw thousands of American, British and other allied forces cross the English channel to halt the advance of Adolph Hitler’s war machine in Normandy, northern France. It would cost the Allies some 10,000 men, but it would become the turning point of World War II.The president and first lady participated commemorative events in Portsmouth, England on Wednesday, the first of two days of ceremonies. Portsmouth, on the southern English coast, was one of the primary points of departure for the Allied forces as they struck out across the English Channel to invade Normandy.

Mr. Trump joined British Prime Minister Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth II and leaders from the other nations which took part in the Allied D-Day invasion for the events on Wednesday.

The president marked the D-Day anniversary by reading an excerpt from a prayer President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered to the nation by radio on the evening of June 6th, 1944, in which he spoke to the country for the first time about the Normandy operation.

On Thursday, the president and first lady were to attend World War II commemoration services at the U.S. Cemetery in Normandy, where thousands of American D-Day casualties were laid to rest. Mr. Trump was to join French President Emmanuel Macron on that part of the trip.

Trump meets with Irish prime minister in Ireland before heading to golf club

Seated next to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Mr. Trump praised the United States’ relationship with Ireland and expressed his frustrations that Mexico isn’t doing more to stop the flow of migrants into the U.S.

“I really wanted to do this stop in Ireland…because of the relationship I have with the people and with your prime minister,” Mr. Trump said.

From that meeting, Mr. Trump went on to his golf club in Ireland, where he’s staying the night.

Trump hails Queen as a “great woman” during farewell

The president and first lady took a farewell photo with the Queen and Prince Charles before departing the D-Day ceremonies. The president referred to her majesty as a “great, great woman” to which the Queen replied to the president that she hoped he “comes to this country again.”

75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady of U.S. Melania Trump pose for a photograph as they attend an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, Britain, June 5, 2019.POOL NEW / REUTERS

Trump, Merkel meet on sidelines of ceremony

According to the White House, the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a pull aside meeting that lasted for about 10 minutes on the sidelines of the 75th anniversary.

The White House says the two leaders discussed the “current situation in Libya and the deteriorating conditions in West Africa.” The leaders agreed to discuss the topics further at the upcoming G20 summit in Osaka.

Trump, first lady meet soldiers

The president and first lady took time after the ceremony to participate in a meet and greet with U.S. service members commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The couple posed for photos and shook hands with groups of uniformed soldiers.

Prince Charles also attended the event where he met with UK service members.

Ceremony comes to close with a gun salute

The day’s events came to a close as a gun salute was fired from a Royal Navy ship out at sea and a flypast overhead by several aircrafts, including replica WWII planes.

75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth
Flypasts are pictured during an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, Britain, June 5, 2019.HANNAH MCKAY / REUTERS

The president and first lady are expected to meet with veterans alongside the Queen.

Queen thanks those assembled for honoring D-Day

“The war time generation, my generation, is resilient,” Queen Elizabeth II remarked in her speech commemorating the 75th anniversary. She recalled a speech her father King George VI gave during the invasion.

“My father, King George, said – we need a revival of spirit. That is exactly what those brave men brought to the battle. On behalf of the entire country, I say you all – thank you.”

75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth delivers a speech during the event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, Britain, June 5, 2019.CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS

Macron marks anniversary with letter

French President Emmanuel Macron marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day by reading the last letter of a French Resistanceman executed in 1943.

“In life, you have to know how to pick happiness,” he read in french.

Macron told the crowd in English: “Thank you sincerely on behalf of my entire nation.”

Trump reads prayer from FDR

President Trump marked the D-Day anniversary by reading an excerpt from a prayer President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered to the nation by radio on the evening of June 6th, 1944, in which he spoke to the country for the first time about the Normandy operation.

“He may hurl back our forces but we shall return again and again and we know that by thy grace and by the righteous of our cause our sons will triumph,” Mr. Trump read.

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PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND – JUNE 05: President of the United States, Donald Trump speaks during the D-Day Commemorations on June 5, 2019 in Portsmouth, England./ GETTY IMAGES

Trudeau reads citation of WWII POW

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau read a citation of Col. Cecil Merritt, the first Canadian awarded a Victory Cross in WWII for his for his extreme bravery and inspirational leadership under fire during the D-Day invasion. After being wounded twice on the battlefields, Merritt was later taken as a prisoner of war.

Merritt went on to serve as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of Canada.

D-Day survivors get a standing ovation

Living veterans of the D-Day invasion received a rousing standing ovation at the start of the ceremonies. Over 300 soldiers of “Operation Overload” joined the commemoration on the 75th anniversary.

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PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND – JUNE 05: Veterans salute from the stage as they attend the D-Day Commemorations on June 5, 2019 in Portsmouth, England./ GETTY IMAGES

Horns sound as Queen, Prince Charles arrive

As the National Anthem of England played, Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Prince Charles the next in line to the throne, arrived to the D-Day ceremonies. The Queen took her place on stage seated next to Mr. Trump and the first lady.

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PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND – JUNE 05: President of the United States, Donald Trump and First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump stand next to British Prime minister, Theresa May, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II as they attend the D-Day Commemorations on June 5, 2019 in Portsmouth, England./ GETTY IMAGES

The day’s events started with a traditional marching of the Queen’s troops as black and white footage of WWII soldiers storming the beaches played behind them.

Trump in Portsmouth for D-Day events

U.S. President Donald Trump visits Britain
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to participate in an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, Britain, June 5, 2019.REUTERS

President Trump and the first lady were arriving Wednesday morning in Portsmouth, Hampshire, on England’s southern coast, to kick off two days of events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Allied D-Day invasion of northern France.

More than 130,000 Allied forces disembarked from southern England on June 6, 1944, to cross the English Channel and take on Hitler’s forces head-on. Thousands left from Portsmouth’s harbor. It was the largest sea-based military invasion in history, and was accompanied by more than 10,000 Allied aircraft.

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U.S. Army veteran paratrooper Tom Rice, of the 101st Airborne Division, is seen in Normandy, France, on June 4, 2019, 75 years after he dropped into Nazi-held northern France as part of the Allied D-Day invasion.CBS/@DAVICITO_CAMERAMAN

Mr. and Mrs. Trump were joining Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister May and other world leaders for an official commemoration ceremony at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common, just several hundred yards from the WWII Southsea Landing Zone, followed by a reception and a lunch for the leaders.

Following the events, the Trumps were to bid farewell to the queen after a state visit which saw them spend significant time with her. Mr. Trump was not scheduled to return to London for the remainder of the week. He was headed instead for Ireland later on Wednesday, before travelling to Normandy, France, for the culmination of the D-Day events on Thursday.

Trump’s visit marked by ceremony, some tension

Mr. Trump’s first official state visit to Britain has been largely ceremonial thus far, as the U.S. and Britain commemorate their longstanding “special relationship” and shared sacrifice on D-Day and since.

On Monday night, the president and Queen Elizabeth II both delivered brief speeches about that shared history at a Buckingham Palace dinner banquet.

“In the coming days, you will see some of our most treasured historical buildings, speak to the business leaders whose expertise and innovation drive our economies, and meet members of our Armed Services, past and present,” the queen said. “You will also travel to Portsmouth and Normandy to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.”

“On that day – and on many occasions since – the armed forces of both our countries fought side-by-side to defend our cherished values of liberty and democracy,” the queen said. “Mr. President, in your State of the Union Address this year, you paid tribute to some of the American heroes who risked their lives, and we owe an immeasurable debt to the British, American and Allied soldiers who began the liberation of Europe on 6th June 1944.”

The warm welcome from the royal family and Prime Minister May aside, Mr. Trump’s visit hasn’t been relished by all. Thousands took to the streets of London on Tuesday to protest his presence, days after Mr. Trump sparred with London mayor Sadiq Khan, whom Mr. Trump called a “stone cold loser” before landing in the U.K.

What is D-Day?

On June 6, 1944, an armada of 150,000 Allied soldiers landed on five beachheads of Normandy, France. Their mission: to free Europe from Nazi control.

It was the largest seaborne invasion in history, one done by a collection of American, British, Canadian and Australian troops, with soldiers also coming from a total of 12 countries. At stake was the liberation of Western Europe from Hitler’s rule.

Some historians consider it the single most important day in the 20th century. The attack had been planned for more than a year. More than 11,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships landedacross the five Normandy beachheads, codenamed Utah, Gold, Juno, Sword, and Omaha.

The amphibious landings were supported by an airborne drop of 13,000 paratroopers, with 4,000 additional men gliding in behind enemy lines later that night. The day was plagued by bad weather. Disorganization and confusion characterized the initial landing. Through it all, the attack remained a secret, one that surprised the Germans.

The Allies would not be deterred in the face of an estimated 10,000 casualties, with 4,414confirmed dead. Between 4,000 and 9,000 Nazi’s were killed. The invasion of Normandy resulted in a decisive Allied victory over Axis powers in France, and set the stage for an allied victory over all of Europe one year later, one that saved humanity from an unspeakable tyranny.

Reporting by CBS’ Brian Pascus


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