UPDATED 4:08 PM PT – Sunday, June 6, 2021
Sunday marked the 77th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, which helped turn the tide of World War II in Europe. As was seen in 2020, Sunday brought scaled-back ceremonies in remembrance of D-Day, commemorating the decisive World War II operation in France.
Several ceremonies were held in honor of the 77th anniversary of the fight that eventually led to the Allied victory in the European Theater of the War.
On D-Day, around 150,000 allied troops landed on five French beaches, carried by 7,000 boats. More than 4,400 allied troops lost their lives, including 2,001 Americans. Normandy has more than 20 cemeteries holding troops from multiple countries who took part in the historic battle.
However, for the second year in a row, most public events had been canceled with official ceremonies limited to a small number of guests. One such ceremony saw wreaths being laid in a cemetery in Coleville-sur-Mer, which is home to nearly 9,400 graves. Most of the graves belong to service members who lost their lives in the battle and following operations.
Only one surviving D-Day Veteran was in attendance. In the meantime, a memorial paying tribute to British soldiers lost during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy was opened in the village of Ver-sur-Mer.
The memorial bears the names of more than 22,000 men and women, mostly British soldiers. Locals said the biggest loss was the absence of Veterans, many of whom are in their mid-to-late 90s, who were unable to travel to the ceremonies.
Experts said of the 16 million people who served during World War II, only around 325,000 still survive with an even smaller number of actual D-Day Veterans.