Make the 80th anniversary of D-Day a national holiday, urges French MP

Next year is one of the last major anniversaries when World War II veterans will likely still be alive and able to pass on their stories to children

Four of the five landing sites are in the district the MP represents in the French parliament
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A French MP has written a letter to President Emmanuel Macron, encouraging him to make June 6, 2024 – the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy beach landings – a one-off national holiday.

Christophe Blanchet, a member of Macron’s parliamentary group, represents a district of Calvados that is home to four of the five beaches that Allied troops landed on.

“A national holiday should take place for next year’s commemorations because it may be “the last [ten-year] anniversary… when veterans will still be with us,” he said in his letter.

In particular, he believes making the event a national public holiday – thereby closing schools – will allow children to visit the “sacred” sites of remembrance and learn more about France’s wartime history.

Failing the introduction of a national public holiday, the MP would like to see at least the Normandy region close its schools for a day, to allow local children to visit the beaches; “D-Day is written into [Normandy’s] DNA,” he added.

Read also: US veteran and social media star, 100, in France for D-Day anniversary

A chance to ‘pass on stories’

The focus of the MP’s letter is for children to actively learn about the history of the landings – or, if outside of Normandy, be able to visit other sites related to World War II.

Instead of interacting with history on these days, the MP says children are forced to go to school.

The 80th anniversary of the celebrations will see a dwindling number of veterans – both from France and the allied countries of the UK, US, and Canada – who fought on the beaches or helped behind the scenes, with most of those who saw combat already 100 years old.

Next year will “undoubtedly be the last ten-year anniversary when our veterans will still be with us and will be able to pass on their stories to the younger generations,” said Mr Blanchet.

If the commemorations for such events are not given the respect they deserve, he warns France will begin to forget about the war, and “mourn those who are not here to continue passing on our history”, alongside those who died during combat.

Alongside the request for the public holiday, the MP also wants to increase the participation of children in other commemorations surrounding World War II, particularly on May 8 (France’s National Holiday to celebrate the end of the war in Europe).

“It is up to us to educate the French people to love France through these moments of patriotic remembrance,” he added.

What do you think?

Do you think next year should be a one-off public holiday to commemorate D-Day? Should children be more involved in commemorating and learning about the war? Or perhaps you think their time would be better spent at school?

Let us know your views via Thank you!

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