This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Theresa May, and U.S. President Donald Trump are set to gather with other world leaders in southern England to mark the anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II.
The June 5 events will include other commemorative events in the port city of Portsmouth.
Aside from dozens of veterans, other world leaders scheduled to attend include French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“As we unite to pay tribute to those whose bravery and sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy marked a turning point in the Second World War, we will vow never to forget the debt we owe them,” May said in a statement ahead of time.
The D-Day invasion began in the early hours of June 6, 1944, when more than 150,000 allied troops launched an air and sea attack on the French coastal region of Normandy.
Code-named Operation Overlord, the invasion was the largest amphibious assault in history and involved almost 7,000 ships and landing craft. Thousands were killed on both sides.
At the time of the invasion, the tide of the war in Europe had already turned against Nazi Germany, following the Soviet victories at Stalingrad and Kursk, and the allied invasion of Italy in 1943. But the Normandy invasion ultimately helped lead to the liberation of Western Europe from the Nazis.
“Seventy-five years ago this Thursday, courageous Americans and British patriots set out from this island towards history’s most important battle,” Trump told a news conference in London on June 4.
The commemorations will feature about 300 veterans who took part in D-Day, all now older than 90, who will retrace their crossing of the English Channel.