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.