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Inviting Russia to Normandy Landing Anniversary Would Be Goodwill Gesture - US Veteran

© Sputnik / Vladimir SergeevA monument to Allied soldiers who fell during the Normandy landing
A monument to Allied soldiers  who fell during the Normandy landing - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2024
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Extending an invitation to Russia to participate in the events marking the 80th anniversary of the allied troops landing in Normandy would be a goodwill gesture even though Soviet troops did not participate in that military operation, World War II veteran from the United States, Frank Cohn, told Sputnik.
However, he believes that such a move is not likely to happen this year.
"It would be friendly to offer an invitation, but that certainly won't happen this year," Cohn said.
However, Cohn also said US and Russian war veterans can extend such invitations because they know the price and importance of friendship between soldiers, and can help heal current political tensions.
"I think the veterans have a special mission to help repair the political damage. Veterans are much respected in Russia and when I wear my World War II hat, I get a lot of consideration here, too," Cohn said.
However, Cohn emphasized that more efforts are needed to overcome the current negative political climate.

"Things will have to simmer down before we can all get pleasant again," Cohn said.

Cohn, a 98-year-old retired US Army colonel, participated in the legendary meeting between US and Soviet troops at the Elbe River in Germany in April 1945. He said he now plans to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings. The ceremony in honor of the landing of the allied forces in Normandy, France, will take place there in June.
US and Soviet troops shaking hands after meeting up at Torgau on the Elbe river in Germany on 26 April 1945 - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.04.2023
Americans, Russians Need Spirit of Elbe, Peaceful World - Veteran
Cohn said he did not participate in the Normandy landing itself because he was still in training camp at that time. However, he arrived there just three months later and saw all the circumstances of the battle.
"I came in at the Utah Beach in Normandy in September of 1944 and saw the residue of the battle. It was still a big mess on the beach," he said.
The veteran also stressed that the Normandy invasion became the most significant battle for the Allied forces during the war.
The D-Day landing was the largest ever naval, air, and land operation conducted in history when nearly 7,000 Allied naval vessels and more than 132,000 Allied troops landed on five beaches in Normandy.
More than 4,414 allied troops were killed during the landings on June 6, 1944, including 2,501 US troops. Overall, some 73,000 allied troops were killed during the operation, code-named Overlord, which opened a second front against Nazi Germany in the west.
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