WWII enthusiasts watch French and British parachutists jumping during a commemorative parachute jump over Sannerville, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the U.K. and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

OMAHA BEACH, France (AP) — The five beaches are silent at dawn but forever haunted.

When the sun rises Thursday over the Normandy coastline where thousands of men bled and died 75 years ago, the diminishing number of World War II veterans who know firsthand of the sacrifices that were made to dismantle tyranny will remember D-Day and hope the world never forgets.

After Britain's spirited anniversary tribute to the derring-do of the Allied forces that set off from England to defend democracy, the commemoration will be comparatively solemn in France, the country where so many young lives ended in sand and sea on June 6, 1944.

Leaders from the United States, Britain, Canada, France — and then-foe and now ally Germany — will once again laud the troops who stormed the fortified Normandy beaches to help turn the tide of the war and give birth to a new Europe, since at peace.

A ceremony at daybreak will mark the time when the first troops landed. Remembrances are taking place throughout the day at the military cemeteries where countries buried their fallen citizens.

French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump will look out over Omaha Beach, the scene of the bloodiest fighting, from the cemetery with grave markers for over 9,000 Americans, servicemen who established a blood bond between the United States and its trans-Atlantic allies.

"I have all kinds of friends buried," said William Tymchuk, 98, who served with the 4th Canadian Armored Division during some of the deadliest fighting of the brutal campaign after the Normandy landings.

"They were young. They got killed. They couldn't come home," Tymchuk, who was back in Normandy, continued.

"Sorry," he said, tearing up. "They couldn't even know what life is all about."

The biggest-ever air and seaborne invasion took place on D-Day. More than 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches code-named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword and Gold, carried by 7,000 boats.

In that defining moment of military strategy confounded by unpredictable weather and human chaos, soldiers from the United States, Britain, Canada and other Allied nations applied relentless bravery to carve out a beachhead on territory Nazi Germany had occupied for four years.

"The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory," Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower predicted in his order of the day.

The Battle of Normandy, codenamed Operation Overlord, hastened Germany's defeat less than a year later.

Still, that single day cost the lives of 4,414 Allied troops, 2,501 of them Americans. More than 5,000 were injured. On the German side, several thousand were killed or wounded.

From there, Allied troops would advance their fight, take Paris in late summer and march in a race against the Soviets to control as much German territory as possible by the time Adolf Hitler died in his Berlin bunker and Germany surrendered in May 1945.

The final battles would divide Europe for decades between the West and the Soviet-controlled East, the face-off line of the Cold War.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wasn't among the world leaders who joined Queen Elizabeth II on the south coast of England for Britain's 75th anniversary events honoring the ultimate triumph of D-Day.

The guests of honor at Wednesday's international ceremony in Portsmouth were several hundred of them aged 91 to 101 who served in the conflict — and the 93-year-old British monarch, also a member of what has been called the "greatest generation."

The queen, who was an army mechanic during World War II, said that when she attended a 60th anniversary commemoration 15 years ago, many thought it might be the last such event.

"But the wartime generation — my generation — is resilient," she said, striking an unusually personal note.

"The heroism, courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives will never be forgotten," Elizabeth said. "It is with humility and pleasure, on behalf of the entire country — indeed the whole free world — that I say to you all, thank you."

In France, Normandy was awash with ceremonies and reenactments of key moments in the campaign ahead of Thursday's observances. U.S. Army Rangers climbed the jagged limestone cliffs of Normandy's Pointe du Hoc to honor the men who scaled them under fire 75 years earlier.

Elsewhere, parachutists jumped from C-47 transporters in WWII colors and other aircraft, aiming for fields of wild flowers on the outskirts of Carentan, one of the early objectives for Allied paratroopers.

Among the jumpers was 97-year-old D-Day veteran Tom Rice, 97. The American was dropped into Normandy with thousands of other paratroopers in 1944 and recalled it as "the worst jump I ever had."

Like many other veterans, Rice said he remains troubled by the war.

"We did a lot of destruction, damage. And we chased the Germans out and coming back here is a matter of closure," he said. "You can close the issue now."

___

AP journalists John Leicester in Carentan, France; Milos Krivokapic in Pointe du Hoc, France; and Jill Lawless and Gregory Katz in London contributed to this report.

Follow all of the AP's coverage of D-Day at https://apnews.com/WorldWarII

French enthusiast Julien watches the English channnel from Omaha beach, Normandy, Wednesday June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the U.K. and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
French president Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony at the Caen prison to pay tribute to French resistants as part of D-Day ceremonies in Caen, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. On June 5, 1944, the Germans have shot 80-85 persons at the prison of Caen, including 71 who have been identified, members of Resistance. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, pool)
Soldiers from the U.S. 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, climb the cliff of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs to seize German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
People walk on Omaha beach, Normandy, where an American is planted, Wednesday June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the U.K. and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
U.S. World War II D-Day veteran Tom Rice, from Coronado, CA, after parachuting in a tandem jump into a field in Carentan, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Approximately 200 parachutists participated in the jump over Normandy on Wednesday, replicating a jump made by U.S. soldiers on June 6, 1944 as a prelude to the seaborne invasions on D-Day. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Canadian World War II veterans and other guests attend a commemoration ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fell on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veteran Jim Warford, center, arrives for a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The cemetery contains 2,049 headstones marking the dead of the 3rd Division and graves of 15 airmen. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Rangers from the U.S. 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress, hold the American flag after scaling the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs to seize German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Planes fly over as Rangers of the U.S. 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs to seize German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In this June 6, 1944, file photo, U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, left, gives the order of the day to paratroopers in England prior to boarding their planes to participate in the first assault of the Normandy invasion. A dwindling number of D-Day veterans will be on hand in Normandy in June 2019, when international leaders gather to honor them on the invasion’s 75th anniversary. (U.S. Army Signal Corps via AP)
FILE - In this June 6, 1944, file photo, members of an American landing unit help their comrades ashore during the Normandy invasion. The men reached the zone code-named Utah Beach, near Sainte- Mere-Eglise, on a life raft after their landing craft was hit and sunk by German coastal defenses. (Louis Weintraub/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 30, 1944 file photo, American soldiers ride horses captured from the retreating Germans are met by town residents as they enter the French town of Chambois, Normandy, France. D-Day marked only the beginning of the Allied struggle to wrest Europe from the Nazis. A commemoration Tuesday, June 4, 2019 served as a reminder of this, in the shadow of bigger D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations.  (AP Photo, File)
A young girl places a flower in a British soldier burial fallen during the WWII at the Bayeux War cemetery in Bayeux, Normandy region of France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the U.K. and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
D-Day veterans, front row, stand on stage during an event to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth, England Wednesday, June 5, 2019. World leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump are gathering Wednesday on the south coast of England to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Canadian World War II veteran Sidney Cole salutes as he attends a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fought and died on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
French president Emmanuel Macron poses for a group picture after a ceremony at the Caen prison to pay tribute to French resistants as part of D-Day ceremonies in Caen, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. On June 5, 1944, the Germans have shot 80-85 persons at the prison of Caen, including 71 who have been identified, members of Resistance. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, pool)
A small wooden cross that reads:
FILE - In this July 13, 2017, file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump, right, walk in the courtyard of the Invalides in Paris. France wants the D-Day commemoration to showcase its long friendship with the U.S., but relations are strained as Trump and Macron prepare to meet Thursday, June 6, 2019. (AP Photo /Matthieu Alexandre, File)
President of France Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Canadian Lt.-Gen. Richard Rohmer after speaking during the D-Day 75th Anniversary event in Portsmouth, England Wednesday, June 5, 2019.   Queen Elizabeth II and world leaders gathered Wednesday on the south coast of England to honor the troops who risked and gave their lives 75 years ago on D-Day, a bloody but ultimately triumphant turning point in World War II.   (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
A member of the Canadian Armed Forces holds a photo of a Canadian World War II soldier during a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fell on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
A WWII enthusiasts watches French and British parachutists jumping during a commemorative parachute jump over Sannerville, Normandy, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the U.K. and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Charles, poses for a formal photograph with leaders of the other Allied Nations ahead of the National Commemorative Event commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, England, Wednesday June 5, 2019. Back row from left: Canada PM Justin Trudeau, Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel, Norway PM Erna Solberg, Belgium PM Charles Michel. Front row from left:  Britain's Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, and US President Donald Trump.  Commemoration events are marking the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in northern France during World War II.(Jack Hill/Pool via AP)
Cows watch WWII enthusiasts driving a jeep in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, Wednesday June 5, 2019. Extensive commemorations are being held in the U.K. and France to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Canadian World War II veterans and other guests attend a ceremony at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. A ceremony was held on Wednesday for Canadians who fought and died on the beaches and in the bitter bridgehead battles of Normandy during World War II. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Soldiers from the U.S. 75th Ranger Regiment, in period dress stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy, France, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs to seize German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
An enthusiast stands on the beach of Arromanches, Tuesday, June 4, 2019 in Normandy. Extensive commemorations are being held in the U.K. and France this week to honor the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 in history's biggest amphibious invasion. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)