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D-Day 80th anniversary commemoration of Normandy invasion


COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France — The surprise guest at the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings was an actor who, as much as anyone, taught later generations of Americans what happened that morning.

Tom Hanks, who starred in the 1998 film, “Saving Private Ryan,” showed up at the American cemetery above Omaha Beach before the formal ceremony began and drew huge crowds as he stopped to give an interview to NBC News.

Onlookers walking the perimeter of the cemetery stopped to gawk at Hanks, creating pedestrian bottlenecks and frustrating cemetery staff members who gently tried to shoo folks along.

“That’s Tom Hanks,” visitors exclaimed. The Hollywood legend, wearing a suit and tie, gracefully exchanged hellos.

A reporter then thanked Hanks for donating a coffee machine to the White House press room.

“Is it worn out yet?” Hanks asked. “It’s probably taken a beating by now. I’ll include some coffee next time.”

Even Hanks seemed awed, though, when he bumped into another guest walking on the grounds: C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The actor thanked Brown for his service and then remarked on what just happened.



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