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Royal British Legion Holds Service To Mark 80th Anniversary Of D-Day

Source: Carl Court / Getty

NORMANDY, France. — Today is the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

More than 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944, to gain a foothold in Nazi-occupied Europe. More than 9,000 died in the assault.

Casualties were especially heavy at Omaha Beach, where U.S. troops faced withering machine gun fire without air support. Around 2,000 troops were killed or wounded in that assault. Despite the losses, German troops defending the beaches were defeated, enabling more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the long march to Berlin.

President Biden is marking D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which is on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach. It contains the remains of nearly 10,000 American troops who died overseas during the war.

At the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, World War Two-era aircraft will take to the sky, and there will be recognition of D-Day veterans.

This will likely be the last major D-Day anniversary with living veterans in attendance. Groups of U.S. veterans who fought on D-Day arrived in Normandy, France this week to join dignitaries and heads of state to honor those who died fighting in the invasion.

As the average age of World War Two veterans is just under 100 years old and major commemorations are held every five years, this year’s event could be the last to include veterans who fought in the battle. Crowds this week gathered at French airports to cheer the veterans, many of them who are older than 100.