Ahead of the event, the 16 nations involved in the commemoration agreed a proclamation to mark the 75th anniversary. The statement, coordinated by the UK, recognises the sacrifice of those who took part in the second world war and salutes the surviving D-day veterans.
In the proclamation, countries undertake to work together to find common ground and recommit to the shared values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.
It says: “Seventy-five years ago, our countries were about to embark on a decisive battle. On 6 June 1944, 160,000 allied troops landed at Normandy, signalling the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. Casualty figures on all sides were immense, with hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, aviators and civilians killed or wounded in the days and weeks that followed.
“We stand together today to honour the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on D-day, and those many millions of men and women who lost their lives during the second world war, the largest conflict in human history.
“Over the last 75 years, our nations have stood up for peace in Europe and globally, for democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. We re-commit today to those shared values because they support the stability and prosperity of our nations and our people.”
The text has been agreed by the 16 countries attending the Portsmouth commemorations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, the UK and the US.