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Live updates: D-Day 80th anniversary in Normandy, Biden, Macron, Zelensky, Prince William attend

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at the Caen-Carpiquet Airport in Carpiquet, France, enroute to ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at the Caen-Carpiquet Airport in Carpiquet, France, enroute to ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6. Evan Vucci/AP

The new world for which the greatest generation sacrificed in the bloody surf of the Normandy beaches is fading into history along with the last of the old soldiers.

The 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings observed by President Joe Biden in France Thursday will likely be the last major decennial commemoration attended by significant numbers of veterans. Even a 19-year-old who stormed ashore in the biggest amphibious operation in history would soon be 100.

This year’s memorial ceremony represents far more than a poignant farewell to surviving comrades of more than 150,000 allied troops who forged a beachhead for the liberation of Europe from Adolf Hitler’s Nazis.

Presidents, prime ministers and monarchs from NATO nations are gathering at a paradoxical moment. They are unusually united but experiencing growing dread. The alliance has a new sense of mission in opposing another war started by a tyrant bent on territorial expansion — this time in Ukraine.

But at no point since June 6, 1944, has the unshakable US leadership of the West and support for internationalist values been so in question. Democracy is facing its sternest test in generations from far-right populism on the march on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Geopolitical empires like Russia and China are, meanwhile, resurgent and threatening to obliterate the global system dominated by Western values that has prevailed since World War II.

Read more about why this D-Day is particularly poignant for European and US leaders.

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