Lest We Forget: World Leaders and Veterans mark D-Day

Published 06 June 2014  |  
Herbery Mason
St Paul's Cathedral in London became a beacon of hope for war-torn Britain. Prime Minister Winston Churchill insisted it "must be saved at all costs".

70 years after the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, world leaders and veterans are joining to remember the day that signified the beginning of the end of WWII.

On June 6 1944, Allied troops stormed the northern coast of France as part of an operation that would offer a foothold into Nazi-occupied Europe. Though over 4,000 British, Canadian and US troops lost their lives on that day, Hitler's army was finally defeated just 11 months later.

The Queen is currently on a state visit to Normandy, along with Prince Philip, US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and 16 other heads of state.

A ceremony is taking place at Bayeux Cathedral this morning, followed by an international commemoration event on Sword Beach, one of the locations of the D-Day landings, this afternoon.

In an official brochure given to veterans to mark the event, the Queen praises servicemen for their "immense and heroic endeavour" and "incredible sacrifices".

French President Francois Hollande adds that "France is always delighted and proud to welcome" veterans on its shores.

In the UK, St Paul's Cathedral in London has opened its doors this week to all service men and women from WWII, offering free tea and cake in its beautiful crypt cafe.

The judging panel of BBC2's 'Great British Menu'.

The cathedral will also host the final banquet of the BBC's 'Great British Menu' tonight, during which top British chefs will battle it out to create dishes that "evoke the wartime spirit of the generation, as well as honour the bravery shown" by those who fought for freedom.

The judges are to include Churchill's own granddaughter, Celia Sandys, Baroness Trumpington and D-Day veterans Ken Sturdy and George Batts. Broadcast on BBC2 at 7pm this evening, the event will be hosted by PM David Cameron.

"This significant anniversary of D-Day makes us consider what it meant that men gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy and how their sacrifice shaped the freedom we enjoy today," says Rev Canon Michael Hampel, who will dine at the banquet tonight.

"But, as we remember, so we also champion the men and women who returned from war and who still contribute so much to their local communities today.

"St Paul's is privileged to welcome them here and to host this banquet in honour of service given seven decades ago; service which continues to be appreciated by all the people of this nation."

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