Pride and sadness as Queen joins final parade

7th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

ARROMANCHES, France, June 6 (AFP) - Queen Elizabeth II bid farewell to the veterans of the D-Day invasion Sunday, saying it would be their final parade in Normandy.

ARROMANCHES, France, June 6 (AFP) - Queen Elizabeth II bid farewell to the veterans of the D-Day invasion Sunday, saying it would be their final parade in Normandy.

"We are all getting older," said the 78-year-old sovereign, "and while it is sad that this will be the final parade in Normandy of the Normandy Veterans Association, it must not be forgotten that the members of the association continue to care for one another; to help each other in need; to support each other in loss and to keep alive the memory of all you achieved in those crucial days."

Noting that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission looks after the graves of more than 22,000 British Commonwealth servicemen who died fighting in Normand, in addition to the many more who were wounded, the queen expressed her thanks in the name of the entire nation.

"What for you is a haunting memory of danger and sacrifice one summer long ago, is for your country, and for generations of your countrymen to come, one of the proudest moments in our long national history," she said.

The queen addressed the old soldiers at Arromanches, facing Gold Beach, one of five stormed on June 6, 1944 by more than 150,000 Allied troops to liberate Europe from Nazi rule.

In stifling heat, the veterans in their blue blazers and berets paraded stoically one last time to the sound of two military bands.

Throwing protocol aside, the monarch addressed many of the veterans personally and shook hands as she moved down a long line of men in wheelchairs. The veterans cried "hip, hip hurrah" three times, before many took a final trip to the flat beach where so many of their comrades lost their lives 60 years ago.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article