This time they sailed to remember

EADT reporter BECKY HALLEWELL travelled to Normandy for the D-Day 60th anniversary services and witnessed an outpouring of gratitude for this nation's war heroes.

EADT reporter BECKY HALLEWELL travelled to Normandy for the D-Day 60th anniversary services and witnessed an outpouring of gratitude for this nation's war heroes.

FOR those young men who came by sea and air in 1944, the terrifying ordeal they underwent on the Normandy beaches on D-Day was an unforgettable experience.

For those veterans who travelled to France at the weekend, 60 years on, the memory will also live on.

From the first Union jack that greeted us on landing, to the towns and houses decked in red white and blue, the French have warmly welcomed the returning war heroes.


You may also want to watch:


The roads have buzzed with the sound of hundreds of Second World War army jeeps, lorries and motorbikes.

Paratroopers have fallen from the sky, landing craft have motored ashore and helicopters have looped backwards overhead.

Most Read

All over Normandy and beyond, there have been displays and ceremonies to honour the sacrifice of ordinary men - British, Canadian and American - with the Queen, Prime Minister and American and French presidents leading the tributes.

But for all the pomp and circumstance, there was only one group of VIPs that really mattered - the old soldiers who had courageously fought on the beaches to free France from tyranny.

The fortunate ones who survived were determined to make what could be their final trip to Normandy to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.

The old and infirm have pushed themselves to their limits to get there. Advanced in years and covered in medals, they have been gentle, merry and dignified.

Almost everywhere you looked, there have been tiny clusters of heroes, talking and recollecting the events of 60 years ago.

Each was humble in the part he played and his own role in history. Each came to remember the unlucky ones - their friends that made the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, for the freedom of others.

The brave young men who stepped onto the Normandy beaches and into the German onslaught secured one of this nation's proudest moments.

Leading the tributes to them, the Queen said: “I take it upon myself to express the immense debt of gratitude we owe to you all. I salute you and thank you on behalf of our whole nation.”

Yesterday, those heartfelt thanks united grateful citizens across Europe and North America.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus