U.S. President Barack Obama joined French President Nicolas Sarkozy and
other leaders in Normandy Saturday for a ceremony marking the 65th
anniversary of D-Day, the allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France
during World War II.
Speaking at the event, President Obama said D-Day represents a moment
when citizens came together, despite their differences, to stop what he
called the "evil" of Nazi ideology. He said it was their improbable
victory against all odds that freed Europe and changed the course of
the 20th century.
Mr. Sarkozy called on European nations and the United States to
continue in that spirit of unity in the face of today's global threats.
He urged the world to never forget the pain and suffering of the war
and to continue to pursue justice and peace.
The prime ministers of Britain and Canada (Gordon Brown and Stephen Harper) and veterans of the invasion also took part in the ceremony, in an American cemetery next to one of the D-Day landing sites.
More than 150,000 U.S., Canadian and British Commonwealth troops landed
on the beaches of northern France on June 6, 1944 to help liberate
Europe from the Nazis.
Mr. Obama arrived in Paris late Friday, after spending the day in
Germany, where he toured the Buchenwald concentration camp with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel, who was
imprisoned at the camp as a child. Mr. Obama called the camp, where
56,000 people died, the "ultimate rebuke" for those who deny the
The president said he saw the crematorium ovens and the barracks where
prisoners were kept in what he called the most "unimaginable
conditions." He said the sites have not lost their "horror" with the
passage of time.
The U.S. president's trip began earlier in the week in Riyadh. He then
traveled to Cairo, where he called for a "new beginning" in relations
between the United States and Muslims around the world.
Mr. Obama's wife, Michelle, and his two daughters have joined him in
France. They arrived in Paris Friday and visited the Eiffel Tower.