Recalling D-Day, Gates Urges a Stronger Alliance

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COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France, June 6 — Beside a churning sea and an ocean of white marble crosses, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday that the United States and its European allies should honor the thousands of Americans buried here by strengthening the alliance that they died defending.

As light rain descended from a gray Normandy sky, Mr. Gates said that the allied invasion on D-Day was founded on “the belief that that blood of free men could wash away the stains of tyranny.” But America’s ties to Europe are now threatened, he said, by those who “believe that the foundations of the alliance forged in places like this have collapsed or outlived their usefulness.”

At one point, directly addressing his French counterpart, Minister of Defense Hervé Morin, Mr. Gates said that disagreements between the United States and France that made for an often stormy relationship should not overshadow what the two nations had in common.

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