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Remembering D-Day; Fighting Flares at Israel-Lebanon Border; Hamas States Latest Proposal Differs from Biden's Layout. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 06, 2024 - 10:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI ANCHOR: Live pictures coming in to us from France right now, world leaders marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the

invasion by air, land and sea that laid the foundations for the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany.

I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi.

MAX FOSTER, CNNI ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster outside Buckingham Palace. We'll have special coverage throughout the hour. We're also tracking our top

stories out of the Middle East. Becky.

ANDERSON: That's right and central Gaza. Thank you, Max.

An Israeli airstrike killed at least 45 people sheltering at a school.

A CNN analysis found that strike was carried out with munitions made in the United States.

And on the border of Israel and Lebanon, this new video just in to CNN purports to show Hezbollah targeting Israel's Iron Dome system.


FOSTER: Well, it really has been a solemn day, a ceremony in remembrance on the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

World leaders from 20 countries are in France, honor the bravery, the sacrifice of some 150,000 Allied forces who stormed the beaches of Normandy

to fight Germany's Nazi army.

That day marked a turning point in World War II. The Presidents of the United States and France leading the commemorations in many ways, Joe Biden

telling the world that the impact of D-Day is still relevant in the present day, where Ukraine is battling for its freedom against Russia in an

unprovoked war.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The struggle between a dictatorship and freedom is unending. Here in Europe, we see one stark

example. Ukraine has been invaded by a tyrant bent on domination.


FOSTER: Melissa Bell is back with this hour because we're getting to the key moment really aren't we in the day where you see all the veterans, all

the world leaders coming together. We've got President Zelenskyy as well.

I know you're on the boat, you're going to show us how these operations work. But a big moment to have Zelenskyy there and not Putin.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. What happens every five years, there are these big anniversaries to commemorate D-Day,

Max. Vehicles like these are called out, people have been out to mark the occasion, veterans still (INAUDIBLE) with us come to remember those who


What is different about this 80th anniversary is that ceremony about to take place on Omaha Beach, this is (INAUDIBLE). Omaha is due east. And in a

short while there, it is the leaders' not chance for just a big announcement, allied nations that saw off the Nazis on this (INAUDIBLE) 80

years ago but also President Zelenskyy of Ukraine.

And it is that important message of first of all unity that has to be stable. We're showing there on that beach today but also continuity

(INAUDIBLE) battles that were fought here in -- off that (INAUDIBLE) in Normandy 80 years ago.

And what's currently being done in Ukraine, that's very much on the line that was formed by President Biden earlier on today. Now (INAUDIBLE) the

optics in this important part of the day.

Ceremonies again, this time, the Ukrainian president there to remind the world that it is about the very same values of freedom against fascism and

liberation against (INAUDIBLE) that are taking place here on the edge of Europe as they once took place here on the edge of (INAUDIBLE).

So the normal D-Day celebrations that we've been marking as we do every few years, but this time with very different shadows of (INAUDIBLE) and to the

very different message (INAUDIBLE).


And I just want to talk to these images we're seeing. We're seeing President Macron welcoming world leaders to France. You just saw the German

chancellor arriving there. For many of the veterans, that's always, of course, a poignant reminder of who they fought but how those relationships

with Germany have changed over the time.

And then you'll see all the world leaders gathered together. And you'll see them very much deferring to the veterans who are still alive today. They

were teenagers. You've got the Canadian prime minister, there meeting Emmanuel Macron and he was at the ceremony earlier on as well, where Prince

William was, also joined him.


And that was on one of the beaches where the Canadians led to the arrival into Normandy as the Americans and Brits did on other beaches and all of

those other nations as well that were represented.

And I think at the back of anyone's mind really at these occasions is that there are a dwindling number of veterans really who are able to attend

these events. And even if at 98 years old, they would have only been something like 18 years old.

Joining us now General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO; retired U.S. Army Colonel Peter Crean, vice president of education

and access at the U.S. National World War II Museum, as well.

Thank you both for joining us.

General, if I can, first of all, ask you about the speech that we heard from President Biden a bit earlier on. There were echoes of President

Reagan's speech, which is very similar, talking about the dangers of isolationism but also the dangers of tyranny.

But President Biden, of course, able to tie in with what's going on in Ukraine right now.

Did you think it was a good speech?

Do you think it went too far?

How do you think he toned it?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: I think he hit the key points because this is a moment that does call on the United

States to step forward.

We can't shrink back into isolationism. And yet, really since Reagan's speech, things have gone so well for the American public that the public

really isn't into this. They don't see the gathering storm that's facing us in Russia and China, Iran, North Korea. And that's OK. That's leadership.

And President Biden is showing that.

FOSTER: Let's just hear from some sound then from that speech. So we can get a sense of it.

OK, we're going to come back to that if we can.

We're just seeing Prince William arriving there. So the significance of Prince William, whilst we're on him, is that King Charles isn't able to go

as head of state. So Prince William standing in for him. And we've got the king of the Netherlands as well there, I think.

But Col. Crean, just talk about this gathering of world leaders we're seeing unfold, right now. And the significance and the messaging to the

rest of the world from that.

COL. PETER CREAN (RET.), VICE PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION AND ACCESS, U.S. NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM: Well, I think it's indicative of the alliance that

was formed on D-Day. We often talk about the Americans landing on the two beaches or the British and the Canadians.

But there were 12 nations that were involved with the landings in Normandy. And they didn't call themselves the Allies. They called themselves the

United Nations. And so the world order that we know and understand today really is something that came out of World War II.

And really the ascendancy, ascendancy of that happened on June 6, 1944 and in the days thereafter.

FOSTER: In terms of the veterans that today, we have this poignancy that they are dwindling in number. But the added poignancy is that the ones that

are there now were the youngest ones in many ways, apart from the ones that died, obviously, that were there.

And it just is a reminder isn't it to young people today to try to get their head around the fact that people actually volunteered to do this. And

many of them lied about their age to be able to serve.


CREAN: It's amazing when you talk to these guys.


FOSTER: For General Clark.

CLARK: Yes, these young men, a couple of years before this, had no idea what was going to happen to them.

They didn't choose this mission for themselves. It was chosen for them. They stepped up and did their duty. They did it for themselves, the people

they fought with and they did it for the country. And the country was behind it 100 percent by the time this invasion occurred, because they


The country knew and these men knew that this invasion was the way to end this war and end it with a victory and success.

FOSTER: Seeing there the prince of Monaco, one of the smaller countries represented.

But Col. Crean, we got to remember. We talk a lot about Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. on these occasions. But there are many more nations involved

in this Allied effort.

CREAN: Absolutely. It truly was the Western democracies that were trying to save the world for freedom and democracy. And that's what they set out

to do on the 6th of June, 1944. And we continue to do today.


So it's one of those things that people don't really realize that we are surrounded by the legacy and lessons of World War II every day in our lives

and in the world that we live in.

FOSTER: I need to ask you, General Clark, about NATO on this day, no major direct references there.

But can we read something into President Biden's talk of isolationism?

Is that a concern looking ahead to a possible Trump presidency and a lot of the language that he's used recently and trying to emphasize the fact that,

whilst NATO wasn't around at the time, NATO was in part born out of what happened on D-Day?

CLARK: It's very relevant to (INAUDIBLE) today. The president's walking a fine line. He doesn't want a confrontation with Russia. But on the other

hand, Russia can't be allowed to start a war and win it.

So Russia can't be allowed to pay and so the people of Ukraine are paying the greatest price to fight this off. And the nations of NATO are

collectively, individually assisting Ukraine in the defense.

But everyone understands that if Ukraine were to falter and fail then the Russian threat would be immediately on NATO nations themselves, on the

Baltics and on Poland and so, really Ukraine's fighting for all of us.

And this is the point that President Biden is trying to make. We have to look outward. We can't simply look inward. And, of course, it's directly

relevant to the presidential campaign.

President Trump has been cozy with Mr. Putin. He's made allegations that say, if you don't pay your bill, Putin is going to take you. There are a

lot of indicators that enter the European, certainly see it that Trump presidency would mean maybe not a withdrawal from NATO but a much less

relevant, effective NATO.

And they might be left to themselves in Eastern Europe.

FOSTER: Col. Crean, can I just ask you about President Zelenskyy's addition here and what you make of that?

Because Ukraine wasn't part of this effort, Russia very much was, played a crucial role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. There's obviously an

understanding that President Putin couldn't be invited today. But that doesn't take from the Soviets' contribution to this effort.

CREAN: You're exactly right, the -- it's the -- most people don't really realize that 70 percent of the German army was fighting on the eastern

front. They were fighting the Soviet Union. And of course, the Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union at the time.

So many of the major battles of World War II happened right there in what is now the Ukraine and to include some of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

So President Zelenskyy and Ukrainians understand that history deeply. It is their history. And so I think it's very fitting that he be there today.

FOSTER: OK. Thank you so much, Colonel Peter Crean and also General Clark as well. Thank you so much for your insights today as we look at images of

other royals from Norway and Denmark also represented there, the kings of both countries.

So it really does show the breadth of this Allied effort, smaller countries joining large countries to take on Nazi Germany.

And these members of the military, so many of them so young, Melissa, as they came in to land on the beaches and they had this unique way of doing

it. So you talked earlier about the ingenuity, the bravery.

But there was also an element of luck with how it all came together when you consider how many countries and different militaries were involved.

BELL: It's remarkable, Max, to consider the logistical feats of coordination that were involved. Just here off those gold beach (INAUDIBLE)

you can see what remains.

This is the statement of the Normandy coast, the remnants of World War II, what remains of the 570 actual of artificial ports that were built by the

Allies in those crucial first few weeks after D-Day.

That allowed their recent (INAUDIBLE) as the troops moved further and further into France, liberating village after village, (INAUDIBLE) the town

until finally they were able to take Paris. Several months after D-Day itself until that (INAUDIBLE) that proved crucial to those resupply lines.


Since they allowed the Allies, again, an extraordinary feat of coordination amongst these very many different parties to go and fetch the equipment,

the weapons, five to six (INAUDIBLE) at a time.

That they could fit onto these docks (ph), take them from the ship that was just out there off the coast of Normandy and then back toward the front

lines without having to go up on the beach, offload everything and take it off.

These docks were then able then to drive pretty far into the land to bring those much-needed supplies (INAUDIBLE) because of course wars are won for

the bravery of the few. But in the end through the logistical capabilities of an army ,or in this case, several armies.

And it took a year for this Operation Overlord to be fought through Japan, again, (INAUDIBLE) coordination, all in the highest level of secrecy that

(INAUDIBLE) that were given to try and convince the Germans that (INAUDIBLE) once.

I'm going to attempt to land this thing, Max, while I speak to you. That's -- that while the Germans were meant (INAUDIBLE) or made to believe that

the main event would happen much further to the north in France, closer to the (INAUDIBLE) that the landing on Normandy would be a tall part of it.

In fact they were planning the main event here. And that important effort of decoy and tricking the enemy with what allowed for these first ones,

when they came to Normandy to have as far in as they did, unbothered by German troops. They were waiting for the main event further north.

So extraordinary levels of planning, of coordination, of logistical planning and execution in order that (INAUDIBLE) were able to function. And

there we go, we're big on it. But having not one (INAUDIBLE), Max, as they (INAUDIBLE) 80 years ago today, bringing their men and their weapons with


(INAUDIBLE) the main closing part off is now entirely (INAUDIBLE) and that's (INAUDIBLE) they were able to (INAUDIBLE).

Max, I'm going to take another around the beach and show you what's happening here on gold beach. You can see the (INAUDIBLE) that have come

out today, (INAUDIBLE) the last eight years and that were brought out every year.

There are teams up there, there are thousands of people come out there, mainly of them dressed in their military garb at this time, (INAUDIBLE)

from all over Europe, bringing their vehicles and (INAUDIBLE).

(INAUDIBLE) who actually made the trip this year. But an awful lot of enthusiasm and a lot of people here who spent a lot of time and effort to

recreate (INAUDIBLE).

FOSTER: Melissa Bell there, it's got to be a first, a live shot from a CNN correspondent whilst landing a World War II amphibious vehicle on a beach

in France.

We are marking this very momentous day as the world marks 80 years since the D-Day landings of World War II. The world leaders are gathering, look

at large countries and small, all those involved in that historic day 80 years ago.

But these are the stars of the show. These are the veterans of that day still there, able to commemorate their lost friends.





FOSTER: Taking you to Normandy where veterans of D-Day who are able to travel there are doing so and then meeting world leaders there.

You can see the French prime minister shaking the hand of one of those veterans but there are world leaders from 20 countries, large and small,

gathered there to pay their tributes, not just to those who survived, of course, but to the many thousands who died.

And when you speak to the veterans, they'll often tell you a sense of shame almost that they managed to survive and they had to leave comrades behind.

But this is the moment of the day really, as you see it all come together.

And there will be some quite powerful tributes and music and lots of tears as well as those men imagine these guys at the age of 18, 19, on that beach

80 years ago, running toward German Nazi military positions and finally breaking through and turning the tide of the war as the Soviets worked the

other front.

And finally meaning that Europe was rid of Nazism. We're going to follow the speeches as they come through. It's been a day of somber moments and

heartfelt tributes already today, honoring all of those who fought on the various beaches.

We had different commemorations. On the night of June the 6th, 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on national radio to speak about the

Normandy invasion for the very first time. He asked Americans to join him in prayer.


FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our

forces. Success may not come with rushing speed but we shall return again and again.


FOSTER: Christiane, our chief international anchor, is in Normandy, following all of these commemorations.

And it's interesting, isn't it, listening back to all these leaders' speeches.

And we're going to hear some more today, trying to put it into the current context.


So after the ceremonies here at the Colleville-sur-Mer American Cemetery with President Biden and President Macron, then the leaders have moved onto

what's being called the international ceremony, where many other nations are being commemorated.

That's where president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will join in these -- in marking this incredible event, which is 80 years since D-Day and when so many of

those old, old men, who were young, young boys 80 years ago, gave their lives and did the unthinkable.

Really even today, even today, when you're down on those beaches, when you see the cliffs, when you know that they faced this barrage of Nazi fire

raining down on them, and yet they kept going, as each one lost comrades, going up, for instance, the planty hook (ph).

They just kept going. They kept going until they finally got to the top. And they were able to liberate occupied Europe.

General Eisenhower, who led Operation Overlord, as it was called, broadcast to the rest of occupied Europe on D-Day, saying that, while many of your

countries have not benefited yet from what we've done in France and what we will do following this day, your turn will come. The tide is going to turn.

And then, of course, we remember, just as you had that incredible Roosevelt clip.


I always remember the incredible radio broadcast from the British journalist, Richard Dimbleby, who was there as one of the terrible death

camps was liberated.

And he spoke and he described what people were seeing, for the very first time, what happened in the Nazi concentration camp, 6 million Jews

perished. And finally, finally, it was put to an end in 1945.

And so all of this is at stake. So much of this we remember what's happened in Israel recently what's happening in Gaza, what's happening in Ukraine.

And all of this is happening again on our watch.

And I spoke and to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the American General C.Q Brown. And he was saying that it is worth dying for your country, dying

for freedom, dying for democracy, because none of this comes free and easy.



And democracy can stand on its own. But we've got to make sure we're prepared. And one of the things I focus on is ensuring that we have the

warfighting skill to deter future conflict.

AMANPOUR: And it's been said that Americans of this generation have not yet internalized what apparently a lot of military, certainly NATO

military, believe, that it's not inconceivable that there could be a great power war again and that you have to prepare for it.

Do you think people at home, even in Europe, understand how difficult a situation we're living through right now?

BROWN: Well, I'll tell you, I have a sense it's coming along. And having worked in the Indo Pacific before, here in Europe and in the Middle East,

I've watched over the years and particularly over the past few years how the war in Europe is (ph) not only for those of us in uniform but with our

elected leadership and the American public.

And we've got to continue to remind folks that, when you look at the situation that we're seeing that we just can't watch; we got to be -- we've

got to lead.


AMANPOUR: And I just want to tell you a little bit of a conversation that I had with the 101-year-old veteran, Jake Larson, who happens to be a

TikTok star, with nearly 1 million followers, some 800-plus followers, because he's telling his stories of World War II and of landing on Omaha

Beach and having survived D-Day.

He's telling them to a younger generation.

And I said to him and he's still as sharp as a tack, I said to him, "Do you remember what you were fighting for back then?"

And he said, "Of course, we do."

And excuse my language, I'm going to quote him.

He said, "We were here to kick Hitler's ass out of Europe and we did it."

And it was, it's an incredible moment to hear a 101 year-old guy say that and knowing that these stakes are still here, it's all framed in such a

fraught moment.

And now we're going to be back and we'll toss it to -- we will come back after a short break.





ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, where the time is 6:30 in the evening.

Fighting on Israel's northern border with Lebanon has flared up again in the past day, reigniting fears of conflict spreading far beyond Gaza. The

Israeli military says Hezbollah militants in Lebanon launched at least two self-detonating drones and attacks on northern Israel on Wednesday evening.

One of them killed an Israeli reserve soldier. At least nine people were wounded. About 30 rockets and drones were launched from Lebanon toward

Israel on Wednesday, while Israel says its planes attacked Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.

Meantime, officials in Gaza say at least 45 people there were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a U.N.-run school overnight. You're looking at the

aftermath of that attack.

CNN analysis of video from the scene shows fragments of U.S.-made bombs that were dropped on the school. The Israeli military confirmed it carried

out this airstrike, saying it was targeting a Hamas compound inside the UNRWA school.

I want to bring in CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who has more reporting on this. He is live from Jerusalem.

Let's start with that. Strike.

What do we understand happened and what's been the response from the Israelis?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Palestinian ministry of health officials have now revised the death toll down from 45

to 40.

There were five people who were killed in a separate strike in Nuseirat, making it no less deadly, though, we should note; 40 people who were killed

while they were sheltering in this U.N. building.

Of those 40 people, Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital records indicate that nine of them were women and 14 were children, with the youngest standing at just 4

years old. The Israeli military, for its part, says that it was targeting Palestinian militants who, they say, were sheltering inside that building

and preparing attacks against Israeli troops.

They have not offered any verifiable evidence, though, for those claims. But they say that this is not the first time, of course, that the Israeli

military has said that Palestinian militants have been using U.N. buildings and facilities to hide.

It's also not the first time we've seen U.N. buildings and facilities struck, including several U.N. facilities in recent days.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of that main U.N. agency in Gaza, says that about 6,000 displaced Palestinians were sheltering at this U.N. school-

turned-shelter at the time when it was attacked overnight, while people were sleeping.

He said targeting U.N. premises or using them for military purposes cannot become the new norm, calling on those responsible to be held accountable.

There is, of course, little in the way of accountability these days, either for the Israeli military or, of course, for Hamas militants.

We are able though to confirm the types of munitions that the Israeli military used in the strike. It was a GBU-39 small-diameter bomb, according

to footage filmed on the scene by our journalist Mohammed Zawahiri (ph), in central Gaza and analyzed by munitions experts.

The same types of munition that was used also in that strike in Western Rafah that killed 45 people, the majority of whom were indeed women and

children. So yet another devastating strike and one of several overnight; 52 people were killed overall in central Gaza in this strike as well as

several others. Becky.

ANDERSON: Jeremy, meantime, no cease-fire, it seems, in sight at least for now. And we will be talking about a temporary ceasefire but at least we

understand it, talks are picking up again. We do now have a response from Hamas.


What is the group saying about how, what they've seen differs from what Joe Biden laid out last Friday?

DIAMOND: Well, it really does seem, Becky, like they are focusing on the way in which President Biden framed this proposal. At least that was my

interpretation of this, which is to say that President Biden very much framed this as a way to end the war, as a clear pathway to a permanent


But instead, what we've heard from the Israeli prime minister is that this is not going to lead to an end of the war and that he will not end the war

until Hamas is first destroyed. And indeed, the proposal itself does not automatically go to a permanent cease-fire.

It would allow for negotiations during the first phase of this agreement if indeed it were to go forward before actually implementing a permanent

cease-fire, although there is a somewhat elegant solution here, of extending that initial six-week ceasefire for as long as negotiations

between these two sides continue.

So there's certainly some ambiguity that is intentionally built into this proposal, open for interpretation. The interpretation, though, that

President Biden wanted to sell this proposal as, in order to try and get Hamas to sign on, is one that the Israeli prime minister, for domestic

political purposes, simply cannot abide by.

And I think that seems to be where Hamas is saying here, that look, what President Biden said and what the actual proposal said and also what

Israeli leaders are saying seem to be very different things.

And of course, we should note that there is a lot more riding on this proposal than just what is happening in Gaza, than just the Israeli

military's war in Gaza.

And that's because we've been watching, of course, a pickup in the cross- border exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah at Israel's northern border and in southern Lebanon, which has really been picking up over the

last week or so.

Renewed attention as well as a result of those wildfires in northern Israel that were sparked by Hezbollah rockets, as well as Israeli missile


And what one thing is clear is that a ceasefire seems to be the only way that there could be a diplomatic opening for Israel and Hezbollah to

resolve these ongoing clashes without it spilling into an all-out war.

And it also seems equally clear, Becky, that if there is not a ceasefire in Gaza, then the pressure is going to ramp up for the Israeli government to

resolve the security situation in northern Israel through military means.

And those military means would likely lead, it would seem, to an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah. It's not clear exactly what the trigger

would be for that. But it is clear that the clock is ticking. Becky.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you, Jeremy. Thank you.

Well, before we leave Gaza, let's take a look at this number, 90 percent -- 90 percent -- of children in Gaza are experiencing severe food poverty. Let

me just let that sink in. That is, according to a new report by UNICEF.

Now the U.N. children's agency says that the war means children aren't getting the different food groups that they need to grow and to develop,

increasing the risk of wasting, which, of course, is a life threatening form of malnutrition.

I want to turn to Africa now, where Sudanese paramilitary rapid support forces attacked a village in Sudan's al-Jazeera state, killing at least

150 people on Wednesday, including a number of civilians. That according to local officials and two witnesses.

In a statement, the RSF said it had attacked Sudanese army camps but did not acknowledge any civilian deaths.

An organization within the U.N. warns that the number of people displaced by Sudan's ongoing conflict could top 10 million in the coming days.

Thousands of people have also been killed since the fighting broke out.

We continue to follow events marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day and all of your other major headlines from around the world. We will bring you

these images of President Macron, who is, of course, entertaining the first lady and the President of the United States, Joe Biden, who are now just

arriving there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.





FOSTER: Welcome back. World leaders gathering in Normandy, France, to commemorate the D-Day landings to mark a pivotal point in World War II.

President Biden and French president Emmanuel Macron are leading today's ceremony.

He was in a speech earlier. Mr. Biden said the events of 80 years ago continue to be very relevant in the present day, when Ukraine is fighting

for its freedom against Russia, in an unprovoked war.

We have General Wesley Clark with us.

As we look at these images, General Clark, of the veterans meeting the world leaders and a reminder of how many different countries were actually

involved in this effort.

CLARK: That's right. And it was more than just the United States, Britain and Canada.

You had -- you had the Poles there. You had, behind the scenes, you had the French, of course, resistance.

Then you had -- Denmark and Norway, of course, were occupied at that time.

But now what's come together is all of the allies working together because they see the relevance of this to the current security situation in Europe.

FOSTER: We, are expecting to hear from the French president.

He's there greeting the world leaders with his wife, getting into position for some of the musical play, standing next to the President Biden there,

the United States and he'll give a speech and he'll try to sum up the gratitude, I guess, that France still feels 80 years on.

CLARK: The French people have been incredibly thankful and grateful over the years in this part of France. Every French family has a story. And

remember, we've talked about the Americans that came across the beach.

But there were two American paratroop divisions that jumped in. And so behind the beaches, there were American infantrymen, paratroopers all over.

They were struggling to find where they were. They were fighting against the Germans. They were trying to hold the bridges so the Germans couldn't

reinforce the beaches.

And this went on for a couple of days as they consolidated and held themselves together.


So it wasn't just the fight on the beach. It was the fight behind the beaches.

FOSTER: What do you think young people make of this?

Do you think they're engaged at all?

It's difficult, isn't it?

Because this is one of the main missions of this event, to make sure young people hear the stories of those living veterans.

CLARK: I'm concerned because I don't see young people that engaged in this. We've got generations in the United States, which they take for

granted what these men fought for in World War II.

And why wouldn't they?

Ever challenge in their lives. We've got friendly neighbors to the north, to the south. The Caribbean is where we go on vacation. And if you travel

around the world, everyone loves America. So at least that's the perception that they would take over the tourist spots in Europe or the Pacific.

And they don't see the imminence of this threat. But we're also in an age of individualism. So really this started with the image of Charlton Heston

and his "cold, dead hands" on a rifle of that sparked the Republican renaissance back 40 years ago, 45 years ago.

And so the idea and the image of the rugged individual, I'm going to protect my family. But these men from the greatest generation, that wasn't

their ethic. Their ethic was (INAUDIBLE). Their ethic was the common good.

Their ethic was, how do we do this for each and all of us, for all of our families?

They fought for each other. It wasn't about a lone individual with an automatic weapon. So the culture has changed.

And if we're going to fulfill America's mission in the world, as many of my generation see it, we're going to have to help young people today move past

the entertainment, the violence they've seen, the individualistic culture and understand that we're all in this together. Democracy has to be

reinvented every generation.

And sacrifices are called for. Any individual, it's not just about you. It's about all of us together.

FOSTER: We are expecting a flyover, there past, the world leaders and veterans, I think that's probably why the camera is pointing outwards this

time. But let's just remind us of a little of what President Biden said earlier on.


BIDEN: They knew beyond any doubt there are things that are worth fighting and dying for. Freedom is worth it. Democracy is worth it. America's worth

it, the world is worth it. Then, now and always.


FOSTER: Interesting as well we've got the British prime minister there who suggested this idea, General, that bringing back national service in the

U.K., which a lot of the older people thought was a great idea, bringing back that sense of public service.

But younger people really reacted against it, which is -- really speaks to the issue you're describing right now. And even though what's happening in

Ukraine isn't mobilizing young people or concerning them too much.

CLARK: It's very difficult for democracies to mobilize. The conscription was put in the United States in October of 1940. It passed Congress by one


And that's what enabled us to form the armed forces that won the Second World War, one vote in Congress in 1940 after Britain was being pounded by

the Germans in the Battle of Britain and bombing and the London blitz and all of that.

And so, you know, America's slow to be engaged. But one of the things that -- when I was NATO commander Slobodan Milosevic was a dictator in

Yugoslavia. He didn't get it.

And I don't think Putin gets it, either. Once a democracy gets engaged, once the leaders are committed, they're committed and they don't turn back.

And this is how we succeeded in Kosovo and stopping Serb ethnic cleansing in 1999.

And this is why, even though it may be slow to coalesce, we're going to push Russia out of Ukraine. You know, one of the lessons that -- one of the

things that mobilized this generation of -- this greatest generation was the memory of World War I, which their fathers had fought and which was

halted by an armistice.

And many of the leaders at the time said, if you don't finish the job, you're going to be back here. General Pershing was the commander of the

American forces in World War I. He sounded that warning. And sure enough.


Twenty some odd years later, Americans were back in Europe to finish the job. So now, we've got another job and we've got Vladimir Putin as the

dictator. And we've got to understand it with Ukraine. We've got to finish this job, of pushing Russia out.

We can't give Putin a breathing space to rebuild his forces, reorganize and then 2, 3, 5 years later, start the battle all over again against


FOSTER: OK, General Clark, really appreciate your time on this historic day, as we see young people brought in. As I say, they do want to fold in

younger generation, so they're aware about what happened. There will be readings, there'll be performances, there will be a flyover.

President Macron will speak obviously on behalf of France but probably on behalf of that whole alliance that still holds together today. We'll be

back in just a moment.




FOSTER: This is the ceremony underway, the international ceremony in Normandy, France, today to mark 80 years since the D-Day landings. World

leaders gathered together with all of the veterans who were able to travel there. And it's a way of remembering what happened, who was lost and really

what it means today.

Many of those world leaders have been speaking about the lessons that were learned, the reference to the current tensions in the world. We haven't

heard yet from President Macron, who is hosting this event as the president of France. And he is about to speak. And it'll be interesting to hear how

he brings all of those themes together.

But also gives a thank you on behalf of France for everything that the Allies did and the relationship really that came together around NATO going

forward. Let's speak to Nic Robertson, who is monitoring all of these events and the diplomacy involved here.

It is diplomacy isn't it, it's not just history we've got here.

How do you think President Macron will try to speak to this on such a historic moment?


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I mean we've heard him already say thank you to the veterans, you're back home. That was every

touching sort of personal message. The veterans who'd come.

But I think it's his message is going to be similarly to the family of nations that share the same democratic values. We're together and we face a

joint challenge. And the best way to face that challenge is being together.

But I think all these leaders will recognize the point that General Wesley Clark was making and that other figures who've talked about today, about

the lessons learned 80 years ago from D-Day and the need to stand up, as President Biden and King Charles have both spoken about the need to stand

up to tyranny.

But how do you do that?

And you do that with armies. And if you look at the position of the British military, for example, you gave the example of prime minister Rishi Sunak

is talking about another national service. The British military is probably at its smallest in several generations.

And if Britain, according to former defense officials, who've talked in detail about this, were to be called upon by NATO to commit very large

numbers of troops without building up the army, that would be something difficult to do.

France isn't in quite the same position. Germany not in quite the same position, slightly larger militaries. But this need for these leaders to

galvanize the idea in their country that actually generations that have enjoyed the peace and security of the interwar years and post World War II

security, may not, may not have that luxury in the future.

And you have to build and generate that idea now. And that may creep across in his speech as well.

FOSTER: OK. Nic Robertson. Thank you. We're watching the ceremony underway. We're going to have some readings soon now as well after this

music. A lot of gratitude being expressed to the veterans who are there. But also to those that lost their lives.

For me, that's it for now from outside Buckingham Palace.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Max.

That is it for CONNECT THE WORLD on this D-Day anniversary, reminding us of important lessons from a world war as the world today faces a host of new


Thank you for watching wherever you are in the world. Do stay with CNN.