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Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy

Posted on 13 May 2019 by

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy

Every June, crowds flock to the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the D-Day landings of 1944, when nearly 160,000 Allied forces led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, landed on five beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

This year is even more special as it marks the 75th anniversary of the landings. As befits such a globally significant moment in history, a busy calendar of events is planned in celebration. Leading dignitaries will be in attendance as more than 2 million tourists from around the world are expected to come to pay their respects to the brave men and women who paved the way for the liberation of Western Europe and the end of World War II in 1945.

World War II beaches in Normandy

Normandy D-Day Festival 2019


What’s planned?

First held in 2007, the Normandy D-Day Festival allows for solemn remembrance and celebration in equal measure. The 2019 edition runs from May 25th to June 16th and includes military parades, concerts, airdrops, military camp re-enactments, firework displays and even giant picnics.

We’ll never know exactly how many soldiers lost their lives during the landings, but Normandy’s war cemeteries are where many of them rest. These will be the setting for some of the more formal ceremonies during the 75th-anniversary celebrations. The other memorial sites and museums that make Normandy such a living source of history will also hold special exhibitions and events. One such example is the new 3-D film D-Day Normandy 1944 shown on the IMAX screen at the D-Day Experience in Carentan les Marais.

But the festival is also a celebration of freedom and peace and, as such, expect a festive atmosphere to invade the towns and villages of Normandy. There’ll be plenty of street entertainment, including big bands playing live music from the era, plenty of swing dancing, and people in army dress and 1940s costume.

Who is going?

As with previous years, there will be a definite international flavour to the 2019 festival, with French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Donald Trump, and British Prime Minister Theresa May just some of the heads of state expected to be in attendance. Hundreds of D-Day veterans will also make the trip back to Normandy.

The most important date to save:

June 6th: The date the Allied forces landed 75 years ago, June 6th is the most important date of the festival, with many ceremonies planned on the D-day beaches and in the war cemeteries.

The official international ceremony will be held on Juno Beach at 6 pm.

Donald Trump is also expected to attend a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, overlooking Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-Mer.

Other important events:

Daks over Normandy:

On June 5th, 250 men and women will board actual Allied aircraft (Douglas DC-3/C-47 Dakotas) and take off from Duxford Airfield in the UK en route to France where they will parachute, dressed in WWII-style Allied uniforms, into Normandy’s drop zones. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime enactment and an unmissable D-Day festival event.


Normandy World Peace Forum

Held in Caen on the eve of the anniversary of the D-Day landings, from June 4th to June 5th, this second edition of the Normandy World Peace Forum will welcome world leaders, academics, and other guests to discuss global tensions and efforts for peace.

For more information, visit normandie-tourisme.fr. The entire D-Day Festival program can be found here.


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