The words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she was introduced to D-Day veterans, rightly seated centre stage on Sword beach on the Normandy coast at this afternoon’s Commemorations. Mrs Merkel rarely speaks English in public – although she does speak good English – and although not officially speaking in public I am sure her words were very touching to those British, American and Canadian former soldiers who this very day and hour were on the same beach fighting to free occupied Europe from Nazi Germany.
Seventy years ago – 6th June 1944 – 156,000 troops landed on five beaches and, although ultimately a successful mission, thousands of brave men were mowed down by German machine gun and snipers as they disembarked from amphibious carriers – the largest ever sea invasion – which began the end of the Second World War and the defeat of Hitler’s Third Reich.
It is today we remember these very brave men who, in the words of John Maxwell Edmonds, gave their today for our tomorrow.
Lest we forget.