June 6 - U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande gather on the beaches of Normandy under clear blue skies to mark the 70th anniversary of World War Two's D-Day landings. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The presidents of the U.S. and France paid tribute on Friday (June 6) to soldiers who fell in the liberation of Europe from Nazi German rule, during commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Flanked by stooped war veterans, some in wheelchairs, Barack Obama joined Francois Hollande to commemorate victory and reaffirm U.S.-French solidarity at the Normandy American Cemetery. Obama said the 50-mile (80 km) stretch of Normandy coastline - where allied soldiers landed under fire on beaches codenamed Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword and Juno - had been the scene of history's largest ever amphibian assault. "It was here, on these shores, that the tide was turned in that common struggle for freedom. What more powerful manifestation of America's commitment to human freedom than the sight of wave after wave after wave of young men boarding those boats to liberate people they had never met. We say it now as if it couldn't be any other way. But in the annals of history, the world had never seen anything like it," Obama said. It was on June 6, 1944 that 160,000 U.S., British and Canadian troops waded ashore to confront Nazi Germany's forces, hastening its defeat. Obama praised the bravery of those who had taken part in the battle. "I am honored to return here today to pay tribute to the men and women of a generation who defied every danger. Among them are veterans of D-Day, and gentlemen, we are truly humbled by your presence here today," he said.