Home US D-Day: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, whose father fought in World War II, attend a moving ‘last goodbye’ ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings as the actor praises ‘young people who do the right thing’

D-Day: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, whose father fought in World War II, attend a moving ‘last goodbye’ ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings as the actor praises ‘young people who do the right thing’

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Hanks and Spielberg could be seen speaking at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach.

Film icons Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks arrived in Normandy on Thursday morning as part of commemorations of the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The pair, known for their collaboration on the Oscar-winning 1998 epic Saving Private Ryan, which portrayed the events of the fateful day in 1945 when the tide turned in World War II in favor of the Allies, joined dozens of world leaders at the events.

After Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg and Hanks collaborated again for the drama series Band of Brothers, which followed American soldiers in northern France after the beach assault.

Hanks and Spielberg could be seen speaking at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach.

Nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Of them, 73,000 were from the United States and 83,000 from Great Britain and Canada. Forces from several other countries also participated, including French troops fighting with General Charles de Gaulle.

The Allies faced about 50,000 German forces.

Hanks and Spielberg could be seen speaking at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach.

Steven Spielberg attended the ceremony at the American cemetery

Steven Spielberg attended the ceremony at the American cemetery

Spielberg and Hanks photographed while filming the iconic opening scene showing the landings in Normandy.

Spielberg and Hanks photographed while filming the iconic opening scene showing the landings in Normandy.

More than 2 million Allied soldiers, sailors, pilots, medics and others from a dozen countries participated in Operation Overlord, the battle to wrest western France from Nazi control that began on D-Day.

Spielberg’s father, Arnold, was drafted into the US Army in January 1942, a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Thanks to his skills with radio equipment, Arnold was inducted into the Signal Corps.

He eventually rose to the rank of Chief of Communications in the 409th Bombardment Squadron which was based in India. It is estimated that the Spielberg family lost up to 20 relatives in the Nazi concentration camps. Arnold passed away in 2020.

Earlier this year, Hanks and Spielberg teamed up once again to executive produce the Apple TV+ series Masters of the Air.

President Joe Biden is expected to compare Europe’s fight to defeat the Nazis with the current battle in Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his attacks.

“Today, in 2024, 80 years later, we see dictators once again trying to challenge the order, trying to march on Europe,” said national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

He added that Biden “will draw a line from World War II through the Cold War and the rise of the greatest military alliance the world has ever known, the NATO alliance, to today, where we once again face the war in Europe. where NATO has united to defend freedom and sovereignty in Europe.’

Biden will also meet with American veterans who fought on D-Day. French President Emmanuel Macron will join him at the event.

President Joe Biden will address the crowd on Thursday

President Joe Biden will address the crowd on Thursday

Veterans attend a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day

Veterans attend a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Caen-Carpiquet Airport in Carpiquet, France, en route to ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Caen-Carpiquet Airport in Carpiquet, France, en route to ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden exit Marine One as they arrive at the Normandy American Cemetery, where they will attend ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden exit Marine One as they arrive at the Normandy American Cemetery, where they will attend ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Planes fly over the beaches of Arromanches in Normandy

Planes fly over the beaches of Arromanches in Normandy

The 172.5-acre cemetery was established by the First U.S. Army on June 8, 1944, as the first American cemetery on European soil during World War II.

A French and American flag decorated each grave. Many people buried there lost their lives on D-Day. There are also names of 1,557 service members inscribed on the Walls of the Missing.

Inside the graves are 307 unknown personnel, three Medal of Honor recipients and four women. Forty-five groups of brothers are commemorated or buried in the cemetery. A father and son are also buried next to each other.

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