PHOTOS: 48 American veterans land in France for D-Day commemorations

They were welcomed by school children and the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, Brigitte Macron

WW2 veterans arrive in Normandy
Many of the veterans are over 100 years old

A group of US veterans were given a heroes’ welcome in France on Monday (June 3), when they landed in Normandy ahead of D-Day commemorations this week. 

School children waving banners, locals and French and US officials and service men and women cheered as the veterans disembarked the plane. 

They are travelling to France to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a decisive moment in World War Two when over 150,000 allied troops landed on Normandy’s beaches to help push back Nazi forces. 

Read more: D-Day commemorations: What events are happening around France?

The veterans, many of whom are now over 100 years old, flew from Atlanta in the US to Normandy on a Delta Air Lines flight as part of a 12-day trip organised by the Best Defense Foundation, which supports military veterans and their families. 

“I want to see the beaches again,” veteran Bob Gibson told FranceInfo. “Some of our young comrades never made it to the beach… I remember it like it was yesterday.” 

They were greeted upon arrival by the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, Brigitte Macron.

“Welcome to France,” she told the veterans. “You fought for our freedom… Thank you for the sacrifices you have made.” 

Normandy is preparing to welcome world leaders including President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, King Charles, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, June 6 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. 

Read more: Russia - but not Putin - to be part of D-Day commemorations in France