D-Day: Carrickfergus veteran George Horner 'passes the torch' to next generation as part of 80th anniversary event

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A Carrickfergus D-Day veteran has 'passed the torch' on to the next generation as part of an event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

George Horner, 97, attended the ‘Lighting their Legacies’ commemoration at Parliament Buildings on May 28.

Organised by the Speaker’s Office, in conjunction with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the event saw Mr Horner passing a lighted beacon to pupils from Forge Integrated Primary School in Belfast, symbolising the passing of the legacy of the D-Day landings.

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Mr Horner served with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, and was just 17 years old when he landed on Sword Beach in Normandy on June, 6 1944.

D-Day veteran and Carrickfergus man George Horner pictured with piper, Grahame Harris and East Antrim MLA John Stewart at Parliament Buildings for the 'Lighting their Legacies' event, part of the 80th Anniversary of D-Day commemorations.  Photo: John Stewart MLAD-Day veteran and Carrickfergus man George Horner pictured with piper, Grahame Harris and East Antrim MLA John Stewart at Parliament Buildings for the 'Lighting their Legacies' event, part of the 80th Anniversary of D-Day commemorations.  Photo: John Stewart MLA
D-Day veteran and Carrickfergus man George Horner pictured with piper, Grahame Harris and East Antrim MLA John Stewart at Parliament Buildings for the 'Lighting their Legacies' event, part of the 80th Anniversary of D-Day commemorations. Photo: John Stewart MLA

Also in attendance at Stormont was 99-year-old World War II veteran, George Lutton from County Armagh.

East Antrim MLA, John Stewart said it was a “huge honour” to join Mr Horner for the commemorations. “[D-Day] not only shaped the outcome of World War II but also the future of Europe and the world,” he added.

"We must never forget the service, sacrifice and selfless commitment of those brave men who put their lives on the line for our freedom and future.”

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David Richardson from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission said it was “inspiring” for young people to learn about events that happened 80 years ago.

‘Lighting their Legacies’ will take place in various locations across the United Kingdom in the run up to June 6.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, hopes the events will bring as many people as possible together to mark the historic anniversary. “Had the Normandy Landings been a failure, there is little doubt that the war would have gone on far longer, with greater losses and possibly with different outcomes,” she added.

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"We can all be grateful for the courage and sacrifice displayed by those thousands of young men who went onto the beaches, Normandy or were flown in on gliders.

“They came from across the United Kingdom, Canada and from the United States - protecting the values that we still hold dear, and which were in danger of being lost forever.”