President Donald Trump read from a prayer delivered by President Franklin D Roosevelt as he joined other world leaders and veterans Wednesday in marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Roosevelt went on national radio on June 6, 1944, to address the US for the first time about the Normandy invasion.
Trump, with images of an American flag and Roosevelt projected behind him, read to the crowd: "Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day, have set upon a mighty endeavour, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization and to set free a suffering humanity." Trump travelled to the southern coast of England Wednesday to pay respects to American service members and allies who helped rescue Europe from Nazi Germany.
He sat in a VIP area with other world leaders and in between Queen Elizabeth II and first lady Melania Trump during the program, which focused on a telling of events leading up to D-Day. Some 300 World War II veterans also attended the seaside ceremony. A chilly breeze blew as Trump arrived for the event, the first of two he is attending to mark the 75th anniversary of the day when Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen conducted an invasion that helped liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.
Trump joined in giving a standing ovation to a group of World War II vets who appeared on stage as the commemoration began. He was the second world leader to speak, following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the lineup. Trump appeared on stage alone and read from a folder for about 90 seconds, reciting just an excerpt of Roosevelt's prayer.
"Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day, have set upon a mighty endeavour, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization and to set free a suffering humanity," Trump read. After the event, Trump visited with American World War II veterans who were among Allied troops on D-Day.
He had lunch and met briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before heading to Ireland for an airport meeting with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and to stay at his golf course in the village of Doonbeg, his first visit to the country as president. Varadkar greeted Trump on the tarmac before they went into their meeting inside the airport terminal. Trump and Merkel discussed Libya and conditions in West Africa during their roughly 10-minute meeting, the White House said.
(With inputs from agencies.)