Macron pays tribute to civilian victims of D-Day bombings in Normandy | World News - Hindustan Times

Macron pays tribute to civilian victims of D-Day bombings in Normandy

Reuters |
Jun 05, 2024 09:08 PM IST

DDAY-ANNIVERSARY/CIVILIANS (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV):UPDATE 1-Macron pays tribute to civilian victims of D-Day bombings in Normandy

By Elizabeth Pineau

Macron pays tribute to civilian victims of D-Day bombings in Normandy
Macron pays tribute to civilian victims of D-Day bombings in Normandy

SAINT-LO, France, - 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 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.

"Our house was destroyed. Families in our street were decimated. The family transport business was also destroyed, and we left for Cherbourg ," Finck said.

He left on foot with his brother. At one point, German soldiers helped them cross a bridge.

"There were planes, bombs ... this is not something you forget easily," he told Reuters, shedding more tears. The family survived, and they later returned to live in Saint-Lo.


The city of 12,000 people at the time was 90% destroyed. Only two streets were left undamaged.

"This trauma turned our city into the 'capital of the ruins', as playwright Samuel Beckett wrote," the city's mayor, Emmanuelle Lejeune, told Reuters.

Colette Poirier, four at the time, was from nearby Belval. She recalls that, with her family, in the early hours of June 6th, they tried to sleep outdoors, to try and hide from all the planes flying over.

She also has happier memories.

"In the following days we saw jeeps with Black soldiers, it was the first time I saw Black men. And the chewing gums ! Since we hadn't had much sugar during the war we were very keen, but we had no idea how to eat them."

Poirier said German soldiers occupied the family farm, and as a consequence she spoke German as a kid. She was amazed, she said, at the speed of reconciliation between France and Germany at the time. Fick and Poirier were both waiting for Macron to give a speech in tribute to Saint-Lo's civilian victims of D-Day. More ceremonies will take place on Thursday with world leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in attendance.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on World News, US News , Hollywood News , Anime and Top Headlines from around the world.

Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, July 25, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On