President Bush and USAREUR Salute Fallen at Normandy

By Michael Tolzmann
USAREUR Public Affairs

News story photo
The USAREUR Band plays the official music for the event.
NORMANDY AMERICAN CEMETERY, France – The President of the United States of America told a crowd of veterans and soldiers – and the world – that we cannot forget the sacrifices made here 58 years ago.

President George W. Bush made his Memorial Day address on the very soil where 1st Infantry Division soldiers fought during the first major World War II battle in the liberation of France and Europe.

History reveals how on June 6, 1944, British, American, and Canadian forces stormed the beaches here and throughout the Normandy region in a full frontal assault on the Nazi machine guns defending occupied France.

Normandy American Cemetery is the final resting place for 9,387 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II.

Soldiers from USAREUR played a major role in the somber ceremony. Participating were more than 200 soldiers from the 1 ID, the USAREUR Band, and the European Command Color Guard.

Chief Warrant Officer Bruce Brandes, 1 ID historian for the event said, “One of things I like to tell the soldiers here when we were down on the beach and talking about the men that died, is how they gave up all their tomorrows for our todays.”

Spec. Trevor J. Gardner, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery said, “It hit home … that’s exactly how I feel. Not too many words can describe what went on here, and that’s what the President was trying to say.”

President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac together laid wreaths moments before French and American fighter jets screamed overhead with a low fly-by. Following a 21-gun salute by the Firing Battery, 1 ID Artillery, taps was played as the colors were raised, ending the ceremony. The official party then departed.

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