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50 Days to D-Day: Introducing Lighting their Legacy

Lighting their Legacy banner

As we mark 50 days from D-Day we are proud to launch a programme of events which will reach people across the UK and in France. 

These momentous events aim to build connections between veterans and young people, and bring people together to pass the flame of commemoration to the next generation.

D-Day 80 events will take place at locations across the UK before crossing to Normandy for 6th June D-Day anniversary.

Named ‘Lighting Their Legacy’ the set-piece events will be held at different locations across the UK in May, supported by an educational programme for schools. During the events, flames of commemoration will be passed from veterans to young people to represent the handing over of responsibility for the memories of the World Wars to younger generations.  

The torches have been designed by three Canadian undergraduate Mechanical Engineering students from McMaster University in Ontario. They were tasked to overcome the challenges and technicalities needed to build a torch, including the weight and fuel, as part of a degree project which allowed them to reflect on why commemoration is important to them, and why it continues to be relevant for future generations. 

The journey of the living flame of commemoration will start in Canada, and in the UK will include Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Portsmouth, as well as key Commonwealth War Graves locations. The D-Day 80th anniversary events will culminate in Normandy, with every CWGC grave being lit in tribute to the fallen. 

Claire Horton CBE, Director General of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said: 

“We are at an undeniable turning point for the legacy of commemoration. This year’s landmark anniversary may be the final major commemoration attended by veterans of D-Day, and as such represents a unique opportunity to pass on the torch of commemoration from the generation who fought in the two World Wars, and ensure commemoration of their legacy endures for generations to come. 

“As we look to the future, better education must play a vital role in ensuring that the lessons of the First and Second World are remembered, and that the importance of commemoration is understood by everyone, whether you have a direct and personal connection to the World Wars or not. Our mission is for the legacy of those who died fighting for our freedoms to inspire a world free from conflict.  

“This year serves as a turning point for renewed national commemoration and pride, and we are calling on everyone to reflect on the Legacy of Liberation passed on to us by those who gave their lives in the conflicts of the First and Second World Wars and share with your friends, family, and communities your personal reason for why commemoration is important to you. We encourage you to learn about the Second World War and share your stories on our For Evermore platform, and if you can, join us at Bayeux War Cemetery in Normandy or spend time at a local CWGC site near you.” 

Lighting their legacy

Lighting their Legacy

Across the UK, May & June

Discover our national programme of events and inspire the next generation.

The Great Vigil

The Great Vigil

Normandy, 5 June

Join the culmination of our D-Day events as we illuminate every CWGC grave in Normandy.