‘We will not walk away,’ says Biden, drawing parallel between D-Day and Ukraine

Biden says the dark forces the Allies fought 80 years ago have not faded. He says the struggle between dictatorships and freedom is unending. He says Ukraine remains as a stark example and says it has been invaded by a tyrant but the Ukrainians are not backing down. “We will not walk away,” says Biden.

Key events

Here is a reminder of the main events happening now and yet to take place today:

2.30pm BST International ceremony at Omaha Beach – over 25 heads of state, including Biden and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy, veterans, officials honour the troops who landed on the beach at D-day.

3pm BST An 80-strong boat flotilla parade in Falmouth. About 27,000 American troops departed from the Falmouth area to travel to Normandy in 1944 as part of the D-day landings.

7.30pm BST The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester to attend D-day 80: Remembering the Normandy Landings at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

At the international commemorative ceremony on Omaha beach, there have been a series of readings in French and English and musical performances which are also being broadcast on big screens in the arena.

The ceremony also featured music from French composer Erik Satie, recollections on the second world war from servicemen and performances by young people.

On the BBC coverage, a team of sky divers were visible as they landed on the beach at regular intervals as pipers played.

King Charles opens Churchill Education Centre close to British Normandy memorial in France

King Charles and Queen Camilla have opened a new educational centre close to the British Normandy memorial in France.

The Press Association (PA) reports that shortly after attending the nearby UK commemorative event, Charles and Camilla toured the Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning.

They were shown an exhibition gallery, curated by the Royal British Legion, telling the stories of those who fought on D-day and in the Battle of Normandy. According to the PA, Charles was heard remarking: “It’s extraordinary isn’t it?”

King Charles and Queen Camilla attend the official opening of the Winston Churchill Education and Learning Centre, on the site of the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, in north-western France. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/AFP/Getty Images

Charles and Camilla spoke to a number of people involved in the building of the centre, including sculptor David Williams-Ellis. They then signed the visitor’s book, before departing.

The centre will also feature a purpose-built classroom to host school groups, teaching them how the landings were possible. It will be open to the public from 7 June and entry will be free.

The opening was also attended by UK prime minister Rishi Sunak and Gen Lord Richard Dannatt, the chairman of the Normandy Memorial Trust.


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Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey reporting from Ver-sur-Mer, has written a piece on how the words of D-day veterans stirred the crowd in Normandy:

It was not the profound silence of the moment of reflection, broken only by gentle birdsong, or even the spectacular sweeping flypast from the Red Arrows that left deep red, blue and white trails hanging in the almost cloudless sky, that most stirred the thousand people honouring the events of 80 years ago among the brilliant white French Massangis stone of the British Normandy memorial.

It was instead the words of Arthur Oborne, 100, which brought people to their feet in a spontaneous show of gratitude and sorrow over the burdens borne and lives prematurely ended by what the king had described as “the vast allied effort” launched on 6 June 1944.

Standing at the centre of the memorial site, opened in 2021 near the village of Ver-sur-Mer and overlooking Gold beach, Oborne, working hard to keep his voice strong and clear, recalled being shot in the lung by a sniper.

He had only been saved by his friend “Gummy” Gummerson, who strapped him up and got him back to a field hospital. But “Gummy” was killed the very next day along with 26 others in the 49th division of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, 6th Battalion.

“I wish I could tell him that I have never taken his sacrifice for granted and will always remember him and our friends,” Oborne, from Portishead, Somerset, told the crowd. “So Gummy, thank you my old friend.”

You can read Daniel Boffey’s full piece here:

Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

US president Joe Biden has arrived on Omaha beach with his wife, Gill, to raucous cheers.

One of his first conversations on greeting fellow leaders was with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been hugging and chatting with a number of the US veterans as they arrive at Omaha beach.

A large screen on the beach provides the audience with a close up look at the greeting line to the right of the stage.


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Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy was engaged in an intensive conversation with the Czech president Petr Pavel soon after his arrival on Omaha beach.

Pavel holds the rank of general and was chair of the Nato military committee until 2018. He was decorated by the Czech and French governments for rescuing French troops besieged by the Serbs during the Bosnian war in 1993.


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Spectators have cheered and given a standing ovation to Battle of Normandy veterans who are arriving at the commemoration service in Arromanches.

The town square parade by the D-day museum is being watched by crowds and people in overlooking shop windows and a cafe rooftop.

One veteran waved and smiled to the crowds as he arrived in his wheelchair.

In the hot sunshine, veterans donned sunglasses and D-day caps, while being shaded under umbrellas by family members as they watched the military parade start the Arromanches service.

The veterans have a view looking out to sea over Gold Beach where troops landed 80 years ago.

Here are some of the latest images on the newswires from Omaha beach as international leaders, officials, veterans and members of the public make their way for the international commemorative event:

France’s president Emmanuel Macron (R) greets Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his wife, Olena Zelenska, upon their arrival at Omaha Beach. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images
Canada’s most decorated military veteran, 100-year-old Maj Gen Richard Rohmer (C) attends the international commemorative ceremony at Omaha beach, Saint Laurent sur Mer, Normandy. Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/AFP/Getty Images
The Prince of Wales (centre right) attends the official international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-day, at Omaha beach. Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/PA
German chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives at the international ceremony at Omaha beach, in Normandy. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP
Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his wife, Olena, were greeted with cheers and applause as they arrived at the international commemorative event on Omaha beach.

Olena Zelenska looked behind in surprise as the crowd erupted as they walked into the open air venue.

France’s Emmanuel Macron and the British defence secretary Grant Shapps were among the politicians to greet Zelenskiy with a hug. No Russian representative has been invited to the commemorative events due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.