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D-Day Commemorations: Live Pictures, Tweets And Stories As The World Remembers The Sacrifice

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Seventy years ago, soldiers launched an attack that changed the world. Now few are left to tell the story of the D-Day landings, an audacious incursion into Nazi-occupied France credited as the game-changer for the Second World War.

The seas were rough that night and many of those crossing were badly seasick. But today, the weather was calm and bright as the flags were raised on the beaches where thousands died within hours of the attack.

Today, veterans, families and world leaders gathered to remember. Scroll below to see our live blog that covered the celebrations, as they happened.

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Today (20:30) BST
Wrapping up the live blog

And so the day of celebrations has come to an end. Though it's over, this blog is not going anywhere, so you can scroll through the day's highlights to your heart's content.

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Kate Middleton was given a cheeky kiss at a veterans' tea party by an 88-year-old former desert rat.

When she sat down to talk to Arthur Jones in Arromanches, he asked her: "Is it OK to kiss a Princess?"

Laughing, she replied: "Of course it is."

Mr Jones, a desert rat from the 7th Armoured Division, seized the moment and gave Catherine a kiss on the cheek.

Afterwards, Mr Jones, from Wolverhampton, said: "As the prince (William) left he said to me 'Were you chatting up my wife?'

"I told him I only gave her a kiss.

"William laughed but I'm chuffed I've chatted up a princess. I bet I'll be picked up now and taken to the Tower of London.

"It was a lovely kiss - she is very sweet and very lovely. I lost my wife 10 years ago, and I'm on my own now, so I don't get many opportunities for kisses any more.

"I always thought Kate looked beautiful, but she has a very down to earth personality - it was like she was one of us."

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William also spoke of the privilege he felt when he and his wife met veterans at a tea party earlier, and of the grave number of young lives.

In sweltering conditions, he told the crowd: "It is a very great honour for me to address you on this historic anniversary, 70 years to the day since the D-Day Landings took place along this coast.

"Earlier this afternoon, Catherine and I had the privilege of meeting some of the veterans who were present on that great and terrible day.

"Great, because it signalled the beginning of the end for the tyranny of Nazism. Terrible, because so great a number of young men and Frenchmen, women and children, here and elsewhere in Normandy, lost their lives.

He added: "It is essential, too, that we never forget the friends and companions of those veterans who gave everything for our freedom on the 6th of June, and during the days and months that followed.

"They lie now together in the beautifully kept cemeteries that line this coast. However, today is also about the young - people of my generation and younger, whose connection to the events of 1944 are largely through hearsay and history books.

"It is vital that the sacrifice - and the reasons for that sacrifice - are never forgotten by our generation and generations to come."

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saluted the courage and sacrifice of Normandy veterans as events marking the 70th anniversary reached their climax.

The royal couple attended a rousing commemoration near Gold Beach in Arromanches, where British troops scrambled ashore on that momentous day.

In a poignant address, William told the ex-servicemen: "As nations - British, French and others - there can be no stronger tie than recollection of what the people of Normandy and thousands of young Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen endured together 70 years ago, this day."

Hundreds of people - old soldiers, their families, serving servicemen and women - looked on as William said the sacrifices should never be forgotten.

He said: "It is vital that the sacrifice - and the reasons for that sacrifice - are never forgotten by our generation and generations to come."

Some 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five invasion beaches on June 6, 1944, in an operation which the then-prime minister Winston Churchill described as: "Undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place.''

It marked the beginning of an 80-day campaign to liberate Normandy which involved three million troops and cost the lives of 250,000 people.

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Kate Middleton speaks to a soldier in Arromanches-les-Bains, during an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy.

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An 89-year-old veteran who is attending the anniversary celebrations was reported missing by his nursing home when they couldn't find him.

Bernard Jordan - who left The Pines care home in Furze Hill, Hove, wearing his war medals - has contacted the home and said his friends are going to make sure he gets back safely when the commemorations end.

Sussex Police were called on Thursday evening by nursing home staff who said Mr Jordan had gone out at 10.30am and had not been seen since.

He had gone out wearing a grey mac and a jacket underneath with his war medals on, police said.

Officers began searching the area, including checking hospitals in case something had happened to him, and spoke to bus and taxi companies, but none of them knew where he was.

The nursing home received a phone call from a younger veteran from Brighton at 10.30pm who said he had met Mr Jordan on a coach on the way to France and that they were safe and well in a hotel in Ouistreham.

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Today (15:48) BST
Awkward!

Audience members cheered when President Barack Obama flashed up on the big screen at the memorial in Ouistreham.

But when this split appeared, the veterans and invited guests weren't quite sure what noise to make...

So it ended up as a kind of "ummmm..... errrr.... ooo" noise.

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ouistreham

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This, from the Press Association, is a remarkable story:

An 89-year-old veteran reported missing from a nursing home was found in France marking the anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The pensioner, who left wearing his war medals, has contacted the home and said his friends are going to make sure he gets back safely when the commemorations end.

Sussex Police were called at 7.15pm yesterday by staff at a nursing home in Hove who said an 89-year-old who lived there had gone out at 10.30am and had not been seen since.

He had gone out wearing a grey mack and a jacket underneath with his war medals on, police said.

The nursing home received a phone call from a younger veteran from Brighton at 10.30pm who said he had met the pensioner on a coach on the way to France and that they were safe and well in a hotel in Ouistreham.

In a statement, Sussex Police added: "We have spoken to the veteran who called the home today and are satisfied that the pensioner is fine and that his friends are going to ensure he gets back to Hove safely over the next couple of days after the D-Day celebrations finish.

"Once the pensioner is home we will go and have a chat with him to check he is ok."

Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, Police Commander for the City of Brighton & Hove tweeted:

"

Sussex Police said they would not be naming the man or the nursing home.

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This is likely to be the last major tribute to the sacrifices made by the elderly veterans who were in the stands watching, and their comrades who died fighting.

The French authorities have kept details of the ceremony under wraps but its centrepiece is expected to be an elaborate theatrical performance that pays not only tribute to the servicemen who died but the civilians who were killed in Normandy during the fighting.

As an aside, British officials will have breathed a sigh of relief that Putin and Prince Charles did not meet at the large VIP stand on the beach as the prince arrived after the Russian leader and, in what might be seen as conciliatory move, Putin lightly applauded as Charles walked up to meet Hollande.

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French president Francois Hollande, who is hosting, arrives first to greet the crowd of around 6,000 veterans and local residents at Sword beach.

Around half of the veterans are British, a quarter from the US, and the remainder from other countries, including Canada and Australia.

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Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko arrives next, it's protocol because he's the newest world leader. He's followed by Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia and Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada.

He had attended a ceremony honouring Canadian troops where they landed, at Juno beach.

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Massive applause then greets the arrival of German chancellor Angela Merkel who stops to talk to veterans.

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Today (14:12) BST
Give her a hand, Vlad!

Russian President Vladimir Putin gazes pointedly ahead as Obama and New Zealand's Governor-General Jerry Mateparae guide the Queen down the steps after their photo call.

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Still, she seems happy enough.

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The letter read: "Our landings in the Cherbourg-Haver area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available.

"The troops, the air, and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone."

He didn't need it.

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This minute-by-minute update of the D-day landings as they happened is an extraordinary feat by the Telegraph, showing in perfect detail how the day progressed. And a great reminder that even though operations began at midnight, Hitler didn't actually get out of bed until 09.05am because his staff were too scared to wake him. And after that he still thought it was a cover-up for an invasion at Pas-de-Calais.

Read it all here.

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Doesn't Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko look pleased to see Russian President Vladimir Putin?

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Queen Margrethe of Denmark conveniently separates Putin from Barack Obama and the Queen. Probably for the best.

Putin is reported to have held 15 minutes of talks with Poroshenko before the lunch of world leaders today. Hosted by French President Francois Hollande, it was the first time Putin had met the Ukrainian since he won the presidential election on 25 May. Hollande’s office confirmed the pair had shook hands.

There appears to have been no such cordiality between Prince Charles and Putin, after those Hitler comments.

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  • Barack Obama, along with a special US veteran, is having lunch with the Queen, Merkel and Putin at Chateau de Benouville.
  • A ceremony with world leaders and veterans will take place at Ouistreham at 3pm (French time).
  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate are also due to attend a ceremony at Gold Beach at 6pm tonight (French time), with a movie projection and fireworks set for Arromanches tonight.
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As the world marks 70 years since the launch of a mission which ultimately led to victory over Nazi Germany during World War Two, these powerful before and after pictures show the true horror and heroism on a day that changed the world.

These pictures are quite remarkable - view them all here.

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"I was young and didn't realise how crucial D-Day was. Thinking back, it's a good job I did it when I did, because if I had to do it now it might be a different story - when you're older you see the danger of it and when you're young you don't think about it."
Sergeant Lee Wrake, RAF veteran, landed on Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944

"There were lots of spoof raids to try and distract the Germans from the landing areas. There were some doubts as to how effective Operation Taxable was but the main thing was that the Germans were puzzled."
Wing Commander John Bell MBEWing Commander John Bell MBE was a Bomb Aimer with 617 Squadron

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WWII military vehicles and enthusiasts muster on Gold Beach at Arromanche

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People walk along British national flags in Asnelles, Normandy, during a ceremony on the 'Gold beach'

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Group Captain Mike Neville, Director of Fundraising at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, has blogged for HuffPost UK on the memories of the pilots who paved the way for the D Day landings.

The Squadron is naturally on tenterhooks at the prospect of finally coming to grips with the Hun," wrote the diarist of No. 129 Squadron on 5 June 1944. "Bickering between pilots was prevalent but gave place to joyous celebrations when it was known that we were to carry out a show in the evening."

Read what happened next here.

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If you read one contemporary report from 70 years ago, make it this stirring speech from Winston Churchill on the floor of the House of Commons as the British forces plunged into France. And the replies back from Labour leader of the opposition Arthur Greenwood and MP William Gallacher.

"During the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place," Churchill announces, describing an "immense armada of upwards of 4,000 ships, together with several thousand smaller craft"

"So far the Commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever occurred.

"There is a brotherhood in arms between us and our friends of the United States. The ardour and spirit of the troops, as I saw myself, embarking in these last few days was splendid to witness."

After rapturous applause, Greenwood responds. "We are living through momentous hours," he says. "I think my right hon. Friend's statement ranks second to the declaration of war on 3rd September, 1939.

"There is nothing much that we can do, except to pledge ourselves, and to pledge our physical and spiritual resources, to the unstinted aid of the men and women who are serving overseas; to let them know the pride that we shall feel in their victories and the sadness that we shall feel about their losses."

"I am sure the feeling of every Member of the House, that our hearts and our thoughts are with these lads who have gone across to the Continent and with their mothers here at home," says Gallacher.

Do read the whole thing here.

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Surrounded by war graves, old soldiers, sailors and airmen gathered with senior members of the Royal Family and Prime Minister David Cameron in the town of Bayeux to pay their respects.

The town's military graveyard was a fitting place to stage the open-air service as it is the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery of the Second World War in France, with more than 4,000 burials.

In bright summer sunshine the service of hymns and prayers was staged with military clergy conducting proceedings.

Moments after the Queen arrived a fly-past of historic aircraft - two Spitfires, a Dakota and a Lancaster bomber - roared overhead as they flew in formation.

At the start of the service the Reverend Patrick Irwin, the Royal British Legion Chaplain to Normandy, told the congregation: "This is a British cemetery and most of the graves in this place are British but D-Day involved many nations and many nations are represented here.

"Here in this cemetery men from many nations lie together united in death, and together, united in gratitude, sorrow and respect, we honour their memory - may they rest in peace."

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Today (11:06) BST
All the latest pictures

Queen Elizabeth has laid a wreath during the French-British ceremony at the British War cemetery in Bayeux

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  • FRANCE-WWII-DDAY-BRITAIN-ROYALS

    Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to a soldier in Arromanches-les-Bains, on June 6, 2014, during an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / POOL / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The 70th Anniversary Of The D-Day Landings

    Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to World War II veterans in Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy, France, Friday, June 6, 2014, during an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy

  • FRANCE-WWII-DDAY-BRITAIN-ROYALS

    Britain's Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to World War II veterans in Arromanches-les-Bains, on June 6, 2014, during an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / POOL / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-WWII-DDAY-BRITAIN-ROYALS

    Britain's Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to World War II veterans in Arromanches-les-Bains, on June 6, 2014, during an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. AFP PHOTO / POOL / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Normandy veterans are introduced to the crowd during an International Ceremony at Sword Beach in Normandy to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.

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    British Prime Minister David Cameron talks with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond (2nd left) and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson (left) at a service to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day at Bayeux Cemetery, France.

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin during an International Ceremony with Heads of State at Sword Beach in Normandy to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and Samantha Cameron arrive for an International Ceremony with Heads of State at Sword Beach in Normandy to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.

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    President Barak Obama of the United States during an International Ceremony with Heads of State at Sword Beach in Normandy to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 6, 2014. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Queen Maxima and Willem Alexander of Holland during an International Ceremony with Heads of State at Sword Beach in Normandy to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 6, 2014. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    A performance showing the process of D-Day through to post-war piece is shown on Sword Beach during the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, Ouistreham, France.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (right) on Sword Beach during the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, Ouistreham, France.

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    The French Acrobatic Patrol Alpha Jets perform a flypast over Sword Beach to mark the end of the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, Ouistreham, France.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Queen Elizabeth II watches a performance showing the process of D-Day through to post-war piece on Sword Beach during the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, Ouistreham, France.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Queen Elizabeth II at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) lays a wreath with the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (right) and the Governor-General of New Zealand Jerry Mateparae (left) at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    The Prince of Wales meets veterans during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha meet veterans at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    The Prince of Wales meets veterans during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    The Prince of Wales meets veterans during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    The Duchess of Cornwall at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    Samantha Cameron, the Prime Ministers wife, at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    The Prince of Wales meets veterans during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Bayeux Cemetery during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    The Duchess of Cornwall meets veterans during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    The Prince of Wales meets veterans during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • FRANCE-WWII-DDAY

    US President Barack Obama participates in a group photo of world leaders attending the D-Day 70th Anniversary ceremonies at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville, France, June 6, 2014. The D-Day ceremonies mark the 70th anniversary of the launching of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The 70th Anniversary Of The D-Day Landings Are Commemorated In Normandy

    COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - JUNE 06: U.S. President Barack Obama applauds WWII Veterans during a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery on the 70th anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. A series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-WWII-DDAY

    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) pasts US President Barack Obama as he arrives for a group photo of world leaders attending the D-Day 70th Anniversary ceremonies at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville, France, June 6, 2014.The D-Day ceremonies mark the 70th anniversary of the launching of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-WWII-DDAY

    Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives for a group photo past US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth during a group photo of world leaders attending the D-Day 70th Anniversary ceremonies at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville, France, June 6, 2014.The D-Day ceremonies mark the 70th anniversary of the launching of 'Operation Overlord', a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    (from centre left) The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, and the New Zealand General Governor Jerry Mateparae look on as a new bell is inauguarated at Bayeux Cathedral during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    A general view of Bayeux Cathedral during a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath at the foot of the Cross of Sacrifice in the centre of Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, during a service of remembrance, Normandy, France.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) and Governor-General of New Zealand Jerry Mateparae (nearest camera) lay wreaths at the foot of the Cross of Sacrifice in the centre of Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, during a service of remembrance, Normandy, France.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) and Governor-General of New Zealand Jerry Mateparae (nearest camera) lay wreaths at the foot of the Cross of Sacrifice in the centre of Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, during a service of remembrance, Normandy, France.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha meet members of the public at Bayeux Cemetery where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and Governor-General of New Zealand Jerry Mateparae (nearest camera) lay wreaths at the foot of the Cross of Sacrifice in the centre of Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, during a service of remembrance, Normandy, France.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and his wife Samantha (left) speak with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (centre) at Bayeux Cemetery where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    Samantha Cameron, the wife of the Prime Minister, walks to Bayeux Cemetery with a veterans family member, where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha walk to Bayeux Cemetery with veterans, and their family members, from the Normandy landings where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with Labour leader Ed Miliband at Bayeux Cemetery where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha meet members of the public at Bayeux Cemetery where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha walk to Bayeux Cemetery with veterans, and their family members, from the Normandy landings where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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    Normandy veterans take part in a service of remembrance at Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, Normandy, France.

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    Normandy veteran Gordon Drabble, 89, from Sheffield, recently awarded the Legion D'Honeur, plants a wooden cross at the grave of a fallen comrade in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, Normandy, France.

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    The fly-past before the Service of Remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, to mark 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

  • 70th anniversary of D-Day campaign

    Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha walk to Bayeux Cemetery with veterans, and their family members, from the Normandy landings where they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.

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"If prayer were made of sound, the skies over England that night would have deafened the world," the US President said at the ceremony at Colleville-sur-Mer.

"We tell this story to bear what witness we can to what happened when the boys from America reached Omaha Beach," Obama continued. "Blood soaked the water, and bombs broke the sky. 'Hell's Beach' had earned its name.

"Paratroopers fought through the countryside to find one another. Rangers pulled themselves over those cliffs to silence Nazi guns. To the West, Americans took Utah Beach with relative ease. To the East, the British tore through the coast, fueled by the fury of five years of bombs over London, and a solemn vow to 'fight them on the beaches.'"

:By the end of that longest day, this beach had been fought, lost, refought and won -- a piece of Europe once again liberated and free.

"Hitler's Wall was breached, letting loose Patton's Army to pour into France. Within a week, the world's bloodiest beach had become the world's busiest port.

"Within a month, one million Allied troops thundered through Normandy into Europe, and as our armies marched across the continent, one pilot said it looked "as if the very crust of the Earth had shaken loose." The Arc de Triomphe lit up for the first time in years, and Paris was punctuated by shouts of "Vive la France" and "Vive les États Unis!'

Turning to the rows of graves, Obama said he remembered that France had "pledged to take care of the more than 60,000 Americans who would remain in cemeteries on this continent "as if," in the words of one man, 'their tombs were our children's.' You have kept your word, like the true friends you are. We are forever grateful."

Normandy represent "democracy's beachhead," said Obama. "We come to remember why America and our allies gave so much for the survival of liberty at its moment of maximum peril."

"It was here, on these shores, that the tide was turned in that common struggle for freedom.

"We have to do our best to uphold in our own lives the values that they were prepared to die for.

"We have to honor those who carry forward that legacy today, recognizing that people cannot live in freedom unless free people are prepared to die for it."

You can read the transcript of the whole speech here.

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Today (10:32) BST
'Awe and gratitude'

David Cameron said he felt a mixture of "awe and gratitude" as he met veterans of the D-Day landings at the 70th anniversary commemorations.

The Prime Minister said it was "incredibly moving" to be at the events in Normandy and it was "humbling" for people of his generation who had not had to do anything like the heroic actions of June 6 1944.

With Russian president Vladimir Putin's presence highlighting current divisions in Europe over Ukraine, Cameron stressed the role played by Russia in liberating the continent from Nazi tyranny.

"Yes, of course we have our disagreements today with Russia, but we should never forget that Russia - the Soviet Union - was an ally of Britain and America, the Free French, Canadian and Australian forces, that liberated this continent from the tyranny of Nazism."

The Prime Minister joined veterans as they formed a procession from Bayeux's cathedral to the historic city's Commonwealth cemetery.

Led by a piper and accompanied by the tolling of the cathedral's bell, the veterans were applauded by crowds lining the route.

Labour leader Ed Miliband was also at the Bayeux ceremony, describing the cathedral service organised by the Royal British Legion as "incredibly poignant".

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Hollande says that 70 years ago was a "memorable date in our history, where our two peoples merged in the same fight, the battle for liberty."

The beaches of Normandy were "a horrendous battlefield," the French president said. "Everything began on the wrong footing. On Omaha beach, the artillery missed its targets. The tanks that should have supported the infantry had drowned.

"Scores were killed, massacred. They were faced with a sea of blood."

Nazi commanders felt "nothing could harm them" Hollande said, adding: "They could not foresee that in democracies a great ideal gives birth to great bravery."

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