Scores of parachutists fill Normandy skies as D-Day commemorations begin: video 

D-Day commemorations
Staff Sgt. Amanda Fry / dvida

The skies of Normandy were filled with scores of parachute jumpers dressed in World War Two uniforms as commemorations to mark the 80th year since the D-Day landings in France began.  

Around 70 parachutists, including those from the Round Canopy Parachuting Team in the United States (US), flung themselves out of three C-47 transport aircraft that flew from Duxford in the UK.  

The event on June 2, 2024, in Carentan-les-Marais, France, marked the start of a week of various commemorations taking place in Normandy and around the world to honor those that took part, and lost their lives, during the D-Day landings.  

On June 6, 1944, troops from the US, UK, Canada and other allied nations landed on the Normandy beaches to defeat Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, and ultimately liberate Europe.  

Known as Operation Overlord, nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel and landed in Normandy under devastating artillery fire from German soldiers.  

The landings were proceeded by an airborne assault which included over 18,000 paratroopers, many who were from the US 101st Airborne Division that was depicted in the TV series Band of Brothers.  

Members of the British Royal Family, US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are among the guests visiting France this week to take part in D-Day events.  

According to the Associated Press, two of the C-47 aircraft that took part in the mass parachute jump were among the fleet of thousands of planes that flew to France on June 6, 1944.  

Although their numbers are sadly now dwindling, many veterans from World War Two have arrived in France to take part in commemorations. 

Most are now in their lates nineties or over a hundred years old and they will perhaps be some of the last that will take part in large D-Day events.   

Over 4,000 soldiers were killed during the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, but the operation is considered the beginning of the end for Hitler’s tyrannical regime. Allied forces celebrated victory in Europe 11 months later on May 8, 1945. 

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