World War Two veterans eye 80th anniversary of D-Day as Europe salutes war dead

World War Two veterans eye 80th anniversary of D-Day as Europe salutes war dead

Columns commemorating the soldiers who died under British command during the Battle of Normandy are on display at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, France. The memorial is preparing to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy. Ken Hay, an English soldier who was captured during the invasion, is now an ambassador for the memorial. Previously, Britain did not have a dedicated Normandy memorial, but now there is an elegant colonnade on farmland chosen by veterans themselves. The memorial features 160 stone columns and a ceremonial wall for those who died on D-Day. It was financed by fines levied on banks and private donations. Hay, now 98 years old, is helping raise funds for an educational pavilion to be built in time for next year’s anniversary. The memorial is laid out by date of death, providing an understanding of how the battle unfolded. The names, ranks, and ages of the fallen soldiers are carved into the memorial, revealing personal stories and sacrifices. Veterans like Hay consider themselves fortunate to have survived and honor those who lost their lives. Hay was captured and held as a prisoner of war before being liberated. He reflects on the hardships and distances he endured during his time in captivity. The war finally ended for him on April 20, 1945, after a long march westwards.

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