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D-Day commemorations remind us to not forget the devastation of war

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Pope Francis sent a letter of remembrance to the Bishop of Bayeux, France, in commemoration of the 80th anniversary landing at Normandy beach.

In it, he remembers the soldiers, but mourns the fact that people have “short memories” given that wars continue today.

“Let us pray for peacemakers,” he said. “The desire for peace is not cowardice. On the contrary, it requires the greatest courage, the courage to know how to renounce something.”

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More than 425,000 Allied and German soldiers were killed, wounded or went missing during this battle, a turning point in World War II.

The pope has reflected many times on the great losses from D-Day. In 2022 on his return trip from Malta and at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, he lamented the thousands of nameless soldiers who were gunned down at the beach, abandoning their youth for the sake of others.

On All Souls Day in 2021, Pope Francis visited the French cemetery in Rome, praying at the tombs of soldiers who died in World War II, many nameless.

“Not even a name,” he commented. “On God’s heart, there’s all of our names, but this is the tragedy of war. I am sure that all these who have gone in good will, called by their homeland to defend it, are with the Lord.”

Pope Francis challenges the world to not forget those who gave their lives in war and people around the world join him in commemorating D-Day each anniversary.

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