World leaders joined veterans who stormed Normandy's shore 70 years ago to pay tribute to the 150,000 Allied troops who risked and lost their lives in the D-Day landings in Nazi-occupied France.

US president Barack Obama met privately with seven of the dwindling number of surviving troops who fought Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. "These men waged war so that we might know peace," Obama said. "They sacrificed so that we might be free."

The anniversary showed up fractures between the modern day leaders of the Allies: Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin appeared to be deliberately trying to avoid each other. Obama chatted with the Queen and did not acknowledge Putin in front of the assembled media.

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US President Barack Obama and American war veterans mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-MerReuters
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US president Barack Obama smiles at a veteran during the joint French-American D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-MerReuters
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US president Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande walk with World War II veteran Kenneth "Rock" Merritt at Benouville CastleAFP
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A World War Two veteran reacts as she meets US President Barack ObamaAFP
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US president Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin pose during a group photo. Also pictured are Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko, Slovakia's president Ivan Gasparovic, Norway's King Harald, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, French president Francois Hollande, Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri, Netherland's King Willem-Alexander and German chancellor Angela MerkelReuters
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The Queen chats to Barack Obama during a group photo of world leaders attending the D-Day 70th Anniversary ceremonies at Chateau de BenouvilleAFP
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American veterans salute during a joint French-US D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American CemeteryAFP
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An American veteran attends a joint French-US D-Day commemoration ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-merAFP
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The Queen bows her head after laying a wreath at the British War Cemetery in BayeuxAFP
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The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, and French prime minister Manuel Valls, attend a joint British-French D-Day commemoration ceremony in BayeuxAFP
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British war veterans attend a D-Day commemoration ceremony in Bayeux , NormandyAFP
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Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave Bayeux Cathedral after a Service of RemembranceGetty
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British veteran James Rawe arrives at Sword beachAFP
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Victor Walker, 88, formerly of HMS Versatile, arrives at Bayeux Cathedral for a Service of RemembranceGetty
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D-Day veteran Bill Price, who turns 100 on July 24, poses on Gold Beach after the flag raising ceremony by the Surrey Normandy Veterans AssociationGetty
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Veterans and dignitaries gather for a British D-Day commemoration ceremony at Bayeux CathedralReuters
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People wearing WWII British uniforms stand in front of 22,000 flags placed on Gold beach, where British troops landed on June 6, 1944AFP
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A piper plays a lament on Gold Beach as landing craft from the Royal Marines arrive at Arromanche, Normandy, at dawnGetty
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Karen Bettridge of Caledon, Ontario, accompanied by her daughter Jessica Graves, scatters the ashes of her late father-in-law, Canadian sniper William "Boots" Bettridge, on the beach where he landed on D-Day in Bernieres sur Mer. Mr Bettridge died in 2012Reuters