French and U.K. leaders unveiled a new memorial to British troops.
Mr. Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain visited a new British war memorial at Ver-sur-Mer, a small coastal town in Normandy, on Thursday for a ceremony on the anniversary of D-Day.
Mr. Macron said that the monument, which is under construction, would be a “powerful symbol of the ties uniting our two nations” and a fitting tribute to the 22,000 soldiers under British command who died in the battle for Normandy.
“Nothing will ever erase these ties made of shed blood and shared values,” Mr. Macron said, adding, in an apparent reference to Britain’s drawn-out and bitter withdrawal from the European Union, that “the debates of the present take nothing away — on the contrary — from the strength of our shared history and our common future.”
“Whatever it takes, we will always stand together, because this is our common destiny,” Mr. Macron said, also expressing his “friendship” toward Mrs. May, who will soon step down as prime minister. Mrs. May also spoke, praising the soldiers not only for their military actions, but for what they represented.
“These young men belonged to a very special generation, the greatest generation, a generation whose unconquerable spirit shaped the postwar world,” she said. “They didn’t boast. They didn’t fuss. They served. And they laid down their lives so that we might have a better life and build a better world.”
Later on Thursday, Mr. Macron met in Bayeux with two French veterans, Léon Gautier and Jacques Lewis, both of whom took part in the D-Day landings. About 3,000 French troops took part in the Overlord operation, including 177 Marines who landed on the beaches.