- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2019

President Trump and global leaders delivered a spirited salute Wednesday to veterans who stormed Normandy’s shores 75 years ago, kicking off a slate of D-Day ceremonies sandwiched around the president’s detour to a golf course he owns in Ireland.

As surviving soldiers looked on, Mr. Trump read an excerpt from the prayer that President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered by radio on the evening of June 6, 1944, as Allied troops turned the tide against Nazi Germany.

“Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity,” Mr. Trump read to a crowd of roughly 1,000 at an amphitheater in the coastal city of Portsmouth, England, a key launching site for the D-Day operation.

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Veterans from the invasion were seated up front, with ribbons and medals on their chests.

They took the stage after the entrance of Queen Elizabeth II and received a lengthy ovation.

John Jenkins, a 99-year-old from Portsmouth, wowed the crowd with his memories of that fateful day.

“I was terrified. I think everyone was — you don’t show it, but it’s there,” he told the crowd.

“I look back on it as a big part of my life, it changed me in a way. But I was just a small part in a very big machine.”

He received a standing ovation from the crowd, which besides Mr. Trump and the queen included Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The 93-year-old queen, who served during the war as a princess as a truck mechanic, said she beat the doubters by sticking around for another milestone ceremony.

“The wartime generation, my generation, is resilient and I’m delighted to be with you in Portsmouth today,” she said.

Mr. Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend another commemoration in France on Thursday, the invasion’s actual anniversary.

But on Wednesday the couple flew to Ireland, where the president spoke to Prime Minister Leo Varadkar about Brexit talks that could affect Ireland’s border with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Trump, who has cheered Britain’s push to leave the European Union, said he’s hopeful the Irish people can avoid any hiccups if Ireland is forced to set up a so-called “hard” border with customs and immigration checks after Brexit occurs.

“The way it works now is good, you want to keep it that way. I’m sure it’s going to work out well,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the VIP lounge in the Shannon Airport.

Mr. Trump said he must contend with border problems back home, though Mr. Varadkar noted that, in his case, “one thing we want to avoid, of course, is a wall or border between us.”

The president dismissed the suggestion he stopped in Ireland to promote his Doonbeg golf club, in County Clare, where he stayed overnight.

“No, this trip is really about great relationships that we have with the U.K. And I really wanted to do this stop in Ireland, it was very important to me, because of the relationship I have with the people and your prime minister,” Mr. Trump said.

Also Wednesday, Mr. Trump met with Mrs. Merkel to discuss ongoing violence in Libya and “deteriorating conditions” in West Africa.

The U.S. and German leaders agreed to speak further at the G20 summit in Japan later this month, press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

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