In Normandy, Collins and King Honor WWII Veterans and Commemorate 75th Anniversary of D-Day

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, took part in the official, bipartisan Senate delegation to Normandy, France, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion by Allied forces during World War II. On that day, the Allied Forces launched the largest land, air, and sea invasion in history, marking the beginning of the end of World War II. The 75th anniversary ceremony honors the sacrifice and heroism of those who fought, including the more than 2,500 Americans who died that day and the thousands more who were wounded.  There are 83 soldiers from Maine buried at the cemetery, six of whom died on D-Day.  The Senators joined President Donald J. Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at an official ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery to mark the milestone.

 

Prior to the ceremony, the Senators met with World War II veterans who made the trip for the occasion. Maine veterans in attendance included Charles Norman Shay, a Penobscot Tribal Elder and veteran who served as a combat medic during the D-Day invasion and is the namesake for the Charles Shay Indian Memorial in Normandy that honors the service of Native Americans during World War II; and Henry Breton, an Augusta veteran who was one of four brothers to serve during World War II.

 

“On June 6, 1944, tens of thousands of courageous Americans and allied troops carried out the greatest amphibious troop landing in history to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.  It was a great privilege to join my Senate colleagues in commemorating the 75th anniversary of this momentous and solemn occasion and honoring the brave members of our armed forces.  The sacrifices made by the thousands of Americans who perished that day, those who survived but have since passed on, and those living today, will be forever remembered,” said Senator Collins.  “Today’s ceremony was especially meaningful to me because my father was a World War II combat veteran who earned two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star as a result of injuries he sustained in the Battle of the Bulge.  It was from him that I first learned to honor, respect, and thank our veterans.”

 

“Seventy-five years ago, on this day and on this beach, more than 100,000 Allied forces landed in Normandy and turned the tide in the fight against fascism,” said Senator King. “Today, we’ve gathered at the site of this historic battle to honor the lasting contributions made by the heroes who fought on that fateful day, to celebrate the rights that they worked so hard to protect for each of us, to reflect upon the ways we can recommit ourselves to the shared democratic values they fought to defend, and to remember the thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice so that freedom could prevail over tyranny. The impact of the greatest generation’s service is felt to this day, and it is a humbling privilege to join my colleagues to honor their legacy.”

 

On June 6, 1944, with American and Allied paratroopers positioned behind enemy lines, Allied forces waded through waist-deep waters amid hailing enemy gunfire to storm the beaches of Normandy, France, in an invasion called Operation Overlord, or “D-Day” as it is commonly referred to today. It was a joint naval, air and land assault marking the start of Allied forces’ campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe.

 

The D-Day 75th anniversary ceremony was attended by U.S. veterans, elected officials, and armed service members, dignitaries from our allied partners in the French government, and other participants. Photos of the Senators at today’s ceremony will also be posted on their social media pages throughout the day.