PM to host 15 world leaders for D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations in Portsmouth – The Sun
THERESA May will host 15 world leaders for D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth as she vows “never to forget” those who fell on the Normandy beaches 75 years ago.
The PM will be joined by the leaders of every country that fought alongside the UK in the Battle of Normandy alongside the Queen, Prince Charles, members of the Armed Forces and 300 veterans aged over 90.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also join the 16 world leaders in the largest meeting of world leaders in the UK outside a formal summit since the 2012 London Olympics.
Speaking on the eve of the historic 75th anniversary commemorations, Mrs May said: “The Normandy landings 75 years ago were a moment of historic international co-operation.
“And it is right that at the heart of today’s commemorations are the veterans who fought to secure the liberty and the peace that we now enjoy.
“The global challenges we face today are different in their origin and nature.
“But as we confront new and evolving threats to our security, it is more important than ever that we continue to stand together in upholding our shared values and way of life.
“That’s why the UK has this week committed our Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and F-35 fighter jets to support the efforts of Nato forces to preserve the security and collective defence of our allies.
“As I host leaders from around the world today to mark this significant moment in our shared history, we will together reflect on the continued importance of the Western alliance for all our countries’ security and prosperity.
We will continue to stand up for the values of democracy, justice and tolerance that so many died to preserve
“And as we unite to pay tribute to those whose bravery and sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy marked a turning point in the Second World War, we will vow never to forget the debt we owe them.
“Their solidarity and determination in the defence of our freedom remains a lesson to us all.
"And we will continue to stand up for the values of democracy, justice and tolerance that so many died to preserve.”
Mrs May will be joined by US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as prime ministers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Denmark.
The event on Southsea Common in the Hampshire port city will include an hour-long production telling the story of the invasion with testimony from veterans, theatrical performances and live music, as well as a flypast of the Red Arrows and Spitfires.
As part of the performance, Mrs May will read a letter written by Captain Norman Skinner of the Royal Army Service Corps to his wife Gladys on June 3 1944.
The letter was in his pocket when he landed on Sword Beach on June 6 1944.
MAKE SURE THE HORROR IS NEVER REPEATED
He was killed the next day, leaving behind his wife and two young daughters.
The world leaders will then have a reception with the veterans before sitting down to discuss the continued importance of the Western alliance and security, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
From the deck of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, Mrs May and Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt will then wave off some 300 veterans as they retrace the journey they made across the Channel 75 years ago, followed by a flotilla of Royal Navy vessels.
More than 4,000 personnel will be involved in D-Day events in the UK and France, in what is set to be one of the biggest mobilisations of the UK armed forces in recent history.
On Thursday, Mrs May will commemorate the anniversary in Normandy at the inauguration of a memorial to British servicemen at Ver-sur-Mer, overlooking Gold Beach, as well as attending services of remembrance at the cathedral and cemetery in Bayeux.
The 16 world leaders in Portsmouth have agreed a special D-Day Proclamation to pledge to make sure the horror of the Second World War is never repeated.
But it was seen as a bid to bind in Donald Trump to work with international organisations that he has attacked, such as NATO and the UN.
The declaration reads: “We commit to work constructively as friends and allies to find common ground where we have differences of opinion and to work together to resolve international tensions peacefully.
“In this way, we salute the surviving veterans of D-Day and we honour the memories of those who came before us.”
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