6 Jun 2009

Leaders to mark 65th D-Day anniversary in Normandy

10:58 am on 6 June 2009

President Barack Obama travels to Normandy on Saturday to mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings on beaches in northern France that led to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Residents in Normandy towns have decked their streets in US and French flags in preparation for the event.

It is a tradition for American presidents to visit the landing beaches at Normandy where the invasion on 6 June, 1944, by US, British, Canadian and other troops began. World War II ended the following year.

Ronald Reagan went to the D-Day beaches on the 40th anniversary in 1984, Bill Clinton was there in 1994 for the 50th and George W. Bush was there in 2002 and in 2004 for the 60th anniversary.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will host the event. Britain is sending Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Prince Charles. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is also due to attend.

Mr Obama and Mr Sarkozy will attend the anniversary event at the American cemetery, next to one of the D-Day landing sites known as Omaha beach, where thousands of white stone crosses mark the graves of the US war dead.