international intrigue

Intense, Elaborate D-Day Anniversary Features Interpretative Dance, a Runaway Veteran, and the Statue of Liberty Showered in a Million Rose Petals

Rose petals are dropped from a helicopter on the Statue of Liberty June 6, 2014 on Liberty Island in New York. Thousands gathered on the island to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Three helicopters dropped some one million rose petals in an sponsored by The French Will Never Forget.
Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Corbis

In New York on Friday, three helicopters dropped one million red rose petals on the Statue of Liberty to mark the 70th anniversary of ­D-Day. “It’s a powerful symbol. We want to show appreciation,” said a rep from the group behind the photo-op, the French Will Never Forget. “If it weren’t for the sacrifices, heroism and courage of all American solders killed in Normandy, who knows where France, or the world, would be now.”

Meanwhile, in Normandy, President Obama joined world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, to remember the June 6, 1944 invasion. There was interpretative dance.

First, the rose drop:

Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

More badass was Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, who is 93 years old and reenacted his parachute drop from 70 years ago:

I’m feeling fine,” he said after. “It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.” But he added, “It didn’t [compare], because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me.”

At the ceremony on Sword Beach, in France, speeches were followed by “an interpretative dance performance accompanied by pyrotechnics and historic footage portraying the events of World War II.”

Photo: Sean Gallup/2014 Getty Images
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

But maybe best of all was Bernard Jordan, the 89-year-old vet and former mayor of Hove, England, who disappeared from his nursing home to make the pilgrimage. The BBC reports:

The pensioner had gone out wearing a grey raincoat and a jacket underneath with his war medals on, the police force said.

A spokesman said: “We have spoken to the veteran who called the home today and are satisfied that the pensioner is fine and that his friends are going to ensure he gets back to Hove safely over the next couple of days after the D-Day celebrations finish.

Once the pensioner is home we will go and have a chat with him to check he is OK.”

He looks just fine:

D-Day Anniversary: The Most Intense Celebrations