Macron pays tribute to civilian victims of D-Day bombings ahead of anniversary

As world leaders gathered to celebrate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the thousands of civilian victims of Allied bombardments on that day and in the months-long Battle of Normandy that followed.

Thousands of Allied soldiers died on June 6th, 1944, on the beaches of Normandy, but so did French civilians. Estimates of the numbers of civilians killed in Normandy as allies took back control of the region range from 13,000-20,000.

"Eighty years later, the Nation must recognise with clarity and strength the civilian victims of Allied bombings, in Normandy, and elsewhere on our soil. We must bring this memory into full light," Macron said in Saint-Lo, a city largely destroyed by Allied bombings.

"Without concealing anything, but without confusing anything. Because the inhabitants of Saint-Lo never mixed hatred or resentment with their sorrow," he said.

Saint-Lo was targeted by Allied bombings because it was a key transport hub, and they wanted to prevent Germany from being able to use it to push back the Allied troops.

"Saint-Lo (is) a martyr city, sacrificed to free France," Macron said.

Eighty-seven year-old Michel Finck, who is from Saint-Lo, was among those who had come to listen to Macron.

Speaking to Reuters ahead of the speech, he cried as he recalled D-Day.


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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