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Veterans usher in 70th anniversary of D-Day at sunrise on Normandy shore

  • CORRECTION AP Was There D-Day-1.jpg

    CORRECTS DATE OF PHOTO, REMOVES REFERENCE TO TODAY - FILE - In this June 6, 1944, file photo, Allied troops crouch behind the bulwarks of a landing craft as it nears Omaha Beach during a landing in Normandy, France. The D-Day invasion broke through Adolf Hitler’s western defenses and led to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation just as the Soviet Army was making advances in the east, turning the tide of the war in the Allies’ favor. Allied troops landed on the Normandy coast of France in tremendous strength by cloudy daylight and stormed several miles inland with tanks and infantry in the grand assault which Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”(AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, File) (The Associated Press)

  • France D-Day-2.jpg

    People walk on the beach where remnants of the artificial port of Arromanches, still stand in western France, Thursday June 5, 2014. World leaders and veterans prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion this week in Normandy. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) (The Associated Press)

  • France D-Day-3.jpg

    A man stands on a jeep on the beach of Arromanches, western France, Thursday June 5, 2014. World leaders and veterans prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion this week in Normandy. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) (The Associated Press)

  • France D-Day-4.jpg

    Gen. Richard D. Clarke, left, of West Point U.S. Military Academy, speaks with U.S WW II veteran 90 year old Carmel Whetzel, right, from Winchester, VA, during a ceremony in homage at paratroopers of the 82th and 101th airborne, in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France, as part of the commemoration of the 70th D-Day anniversary, Thursday, June 5, 2014. World leaders and veterans prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion this week in Normandy. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (The Associated Press)

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    U.S WW II veteran, 90-year-old Bill Gabraith, right, from Murrieta, California, paratrooper of 101th Airborne, signs a book after a ceremony in homage at paratroopers of the 82th and 101th airborne, in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France, as part of the commemoration of the 70th D-Day anniversary, Thursday, June 5, 2014. World leaders and veterans prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion this week in Normandy. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (The Associated Press)

Veterans and Normandy residents are paying tribute to the thousands who gave their lives in the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France 70 years ago.

As the sun rose Friday over Omaha Beach, flags flew at half-staff. Hundreds of people gathered to remember the largest amphibious invasion in history, on June 6, 1944.

Veterans joined soldiers serving in the U.S. 29th Infantry Division, standing at attention in dress uniforms on the beach. A military band stood nearby, as a strong wind blew.

World leaders and dignitaries including President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II will gather to honor the more than 150,000 American, British, Canadian and other Allied D-Day troops who risked and gave their lives to defeat Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.