PROTSMOUTH, Britain, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Peaceful southern British port city Portsmouth was not so peaceful 70 years ago and today, thousands of people across the country and from other countries gathered on the seafront to commemorate D-Day, known as Invasion of Normandy, on Thursday.
To remember people who lost their lives on D-Day and remark the 70th anniversary of the landings, a series of events have been held in Portsmouth, a small city on the side of the English Channel, where the other side is Normandy.
In the morning, Princess Anne paid tribute to those who involved in D-Day and inspected the parade. Drumhead ceremony and Cathedral Choir performed on the beach.
More than 200 veterans who took part in D-Day Landings or the following operations in World War II attended the event.
Amphibious demonstration operated by Royal Navy and Royal Marines displayed the landing, which involved the Albion-class assault ship HMS Bulwark, helicopters, troop carriers and armoured vehicles.
"We are from Winchester, My father-in-law John was landed in one of the five beaches, he has been telling stories to students in schools and we often tell the children about the D-Day to teach them remember the history," said Emily Bray, adding that as this year is the 70th annivesary of D-Day, she came to Portsmouth with her family to witness these big events.
Young soldiers 70 years before are now in their 80s and 90s, and those old soldiers who attended the event on Thursday have been seeing with gray and silver hair. Some of them have lost their hearing, others have their hands getting wrinkled and trembled.
Victor Tarry, 92, was a soldier who crossed the English Channel on June 5,1944. He has been awarded a medal after liberating a town in France, which made him very proud of.
He can still remember clearly the 10-feet seawall on the beach and bullets shot through the wall. He can still recall the French girls, whose hair had been shaved by German armies and forced to become prostitutes, as well as the debris scattering on the streets in Paris. However, he didn't remember how many injuries he got during the war.
"We didn't know where were we going, just know we were on an American boat that day," said Robert Piper, a 89-year-old veteran who departed from South Hampton on June 6, 1944.
"We need more tolerant with people, if people not tolerate they will fight. We are all together whether you are from China, India or wherever, we can live together no matter what religion you believe, we can live together and talk together," he said.
"Teachers should teach student the history and every child should go to France, stand in the middle of the cemetery, put their hands on the tombs which buried soldiers who was 18 or 19 years old, even not began their lives, they need to learn not to kill each other," he added.
In the afternoon, the Red Arrows of Royal Air Force performed a splendid aerobatic display, HMS Bulwark has set sail to Normandy this afternoon. While a sunset concert will be held on the beach for the heroes of war.
"It's a big event in Portsmouth, a lot of events will be held in the next five days, makes people involved have the ideas what happened those days. It will be a good memory in their lives," said Andrew Beecher, a local resident in Portsmouth, who invited his 89-year-old veteran uncle, Charles Beecher, to attend the significant event on Thursday.
"We learn the history of D-Day and World War II from school. The events today were great and I really love the amphibious demonstration. It's a good way to know the history," said Maleha Khan, a girl from a high school in Portsmouth.
Hundreds of pupils and high school students have been organized to participated in the events.
Portsmouth was the headquarters and main departure point for the military and naval units destined for Sword Beach on the Normandy coast.
The Invasion of Normandy established a crucial second front in the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation, ultimately leading to victory for Allied Forces in 1945. British and Commonwealth casualties, including killed, wounded or missing, on D-Day numbered about 4,300 in total.