Obama to visit D-Day cemetery in June

9th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Obama to visit D-Day cemetery in June

Sainte Maxime -- US President Barack Obama will join his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Normandy for the June anniversary of the World War II D-Day landings, the French leader said Friday.

Obama will arrive late on June 5, a day before visiting the American war cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer above Omaha beach, a main landing point for the invasion on June 6, 1944, where thousands of American troops lie buried.

"We will spend some time together, this time in Normandy on the beaches, and we will go together to pay tribute in the cemeteries where so many young Americans paid with their lives for the freedom of our country," Sarkozy said.

"We will also invite American veterans, so they can see that the French people have not forgotten them," said the French president, speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark the Allied Victory in Europe on May 8, 1945.

Sarkozy has vowed to give Obama an "extraordinary welcome" on the 65th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied troops stormed the Normandy beaches held by France's Nazi German occupiers.

The president told television reporters the US leader's visit was "very important," coming weeks after the NATO summit in Strasbourg at which France formally rejoined NATO's integrated military command.

"The friendship of the United States, with all respect for France's independence, is something that counts for a lot," he added.

More than 45,000 Allied soldiers, including 29,000 Americans, were killed during Operation Overlord, which saw them opening a second front on mainland Europe and led to the liberation of France.

The French presidency announced in March that Obama would attend the D-Day anniversary in Normandy, but no details of his visit had been released.


0 Comments To This Article