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07.05.2019

Normandy prepares for 75th anniversary of D-day landings

Visits to battlefield sites such as Waterloo and Ypres are a highly popular and growing niche interest among coach holiday travellers. More than 2 million remembrance tourists are expected to retrace the footsteps of the 156,000 Allied troops who landed on the beaches of Normandy on 6th June 1944 at museum exhibitions, local events and around preserved key landmarks.

As veteran numbers diminish and with D-day poised to pass from living memory into history, this 75th anniversary is likely to be the last big official commemoration of the largest ever amphibious assault, which led to the liberation of Europe from the Nazis on 8th May 1945. Hundreds of elderly veterans along with members of the British Royal Family are expected to attend ceremonies on 6th June on Normandy’s beaches, clifftops and cemeteries.

At sunset, thousands will gather at Arromanches seafront square overlooking the remains of “Mulberry B” – the temporary portable harbor assembled at Gold Beach, which was used for 10 months after D-Day. Over 2.5 million soldiers, 500,000 military vehicles and 4 million tons of supplies were landed before it was fully decommissioned.

One of the most visited of Normandy’s battle sites is the Normandy American Cemetery in Coleville-sur-Mer. It overlooks Omaha Beach where US troops suffered around 2,400 casualties on D-day. The US president, Donald Trump, is expected to join around 9,000 for a ceremony there on 6th June, when both US and French flags will be placed on each of the 9,387 marble crosses and 149 Stars of David.

While Normandy commemorates its past, it is also looking towards a new future in conflict resolution. Ahead of the D-day commemorations, the 2nd Normandy World Peace Forum will be held on 4th and 5th June in Caen, much of which was destroyed in the Battle of Normandy. Five Nobel Peace Prize winners are expected to attend.

In January 2018, the French Ministry of Culture announced the official candidacy of the D-Day landing beaches to be included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Further information:
http://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/calendar-of-events/anniversary-of-d-day-847-2.html

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