D-Day 80 Torch Of Commemoration lit by Prime Minister

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today launched the commemorations for the 80th anniversary of D-Day by lighting a torch that will tour the UK before travelling to France.

The Prime Minister handed the Torch of Liberation to D-Day veteran Peter Kent during a ceremony in London.

The commemorative torch will now travel to capital cities and key cemeteries and memorials around the country, including in Edinburgh, Manchester and Portsmouth, before travelling to Normandy across the English Channel with D-Day veterans.

It will be the centrepiece of the CWGC’s lighting of more than 25,000 Commonwealth war graves this summer – symbolising the human cost of the fight for liberty – and will form a key part of a vigil at Bayeux War Cemetery on the evening of 5 June.

At the event today, Veterans Minister Jonny Mercer, a serving British Army officer, a cadet and a CWGC student volunteer passed the torch between them, symbolising how the D-Day 80 commemorations will pass the message of D-Day through the generations.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“It was an honour to hand the D-Day 80 Torch of Commemoration to Peter Kent, a surviving D-Day veteran who fought so bravely 80 years ago.

“As we prepare to unite as a country and remember the courage and sacrifice of those who fought so heroically – we must never forget how much we owe that incredible generation.”

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“D-Day stands as a timeless testament to the valour of those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom.  

“Today was an important and poignant moment to honour history, and reaffirm our commitment to liberty and democracy.”

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer, said:

“Today we remember those who fought with distinction on D-Day to protect the freedoms that we enjoy today.

“We are committed to preserving their memory and remembering their sacrifice.”

Witnessed by CWGC Director General Claire Horton, military personnel, cadets and MOD civil Servants, the moment launches a programme of events in the UK and France designed to build and strengthen connections between veterans and the young people.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Director General Claire Horton CBE said:

“As we mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, let us remember those whose valour and service returned the light of liberty and freedom to Europe’s shores. 

“Today, our Torch of Commemoration has been lit to honour their legacy with solemn reverence, and in passing that flame of commemoration from one generation to the next, safeguarded its future. Let us also pledge ourselves to a brighter tomorrow built on the pillars of unity and peace.”

There will be a series of commemorations and events across the UK and France to honour the brave personnel who risked their lives for freedom and peace. Portsmouth will host a major national commemorative event to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, on 5 June 2024.

For the first time since its completion, the British Normandy Memorial will host the major British commemorative event on 6 June 2024.

The Ministry of Defence has launched a D-Day 80 website on GOV.UK, so that members of the public can find out more about the official commemorations and attendance.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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