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Bush links D-Day to war on terror

Bush walks among the thousands of crosses marking the U.S. sacrifices  

PARIS (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush has linked the D-Day landings that ultimately led to the defeat of the Nazis in World War II to the war against terrorism during a visit to Normandy.

Bush's first stop on Monday, America's Memorial Day, was at Sainte-Mére Eglise, where he and his wife attended a memorial service with French President Jacques Chirac.

Sainte-Mére Eglise was the first town to see battle on D-Day, June 6, 1944. About 10,000 Allied soldiers died during the start of the battle.

Bush, in a 15-minute speech to 2,000 D-Day veterans, used the occasion to tie his global war on terrorism to the fight that ultimately ended World War II.

Speaking at the American Cemetery on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur Mer as a steady rain fell around him, the president said: "For some military families in America and in Europe grief is recent, with the losses we have suffered in Afghanistan."

"They can know, however, that the cause is just and like other generations, these sacrifices have spared many others from tyranny and sorrow.

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"Here where we stand today, the new world came back to liberate the old, a bond was formed of shared trial and shared victory. And the light that scattered darkness from these shores and across France was spread to all of Europe, in time turning enemies into friends and the pursuits of war into the pursuits of peace.

"Our security is still tied up together in a transatlantic alliance with soldiers in many uniforms defending the world from terrorists at this very hour."

On Sunday, Bush said this Memorial Day had a special significance.

"All Memorial Days are days in which Americans ought to give thanks for freedom and the fact that somebody sacrificed for their freedom," he said Sunday.

"This Memorial Day is the first Memorial Day in a long time in which younger Americans know firsthand the price that was paid for their freedom."

Bush also thanked France for its help as a "decisive ally" in the modern war against terror. (Full story)

The memorial is on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel in Colleville-sur Mer, France. The cemetery contains the graves of 9,386 war dead.

The Bushes toured graves in the memorial, including that of the son of former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt Jr., who landed on Normandy on D-Day.

Bush and Chirac also walked along the cemetery's reflecting pool and took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the cemetery's memorial.

Bush then flew on to Italy, where he was due to have a private dinner with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in an ornate Renaissance villa on the outskirts of Rome.

On Tuesday, he will attend a summit in Rome marking the formation of the NATO-Russia Council, a body that gives Russia a voice in some NATO decision-making. (Full story)

Bush is also scheduled to meet Pope John Paul before heading home to Washington at the end of a week-long trip that has also taken him to Germany, Russia and France.

Speaking in Paris on Sunday amid tight security Bush urged other nations to maintain a commitment to the anti-terror war effort, including beyond the current war front in Afghanistan.

In Russia, Bush signed a nuclear weapons disarmament treaty with President Vladimir Putin.


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