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 Holocaust.
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.