Normandy veteran George Batts started campaigning for the memorial in 2012. He watched the ceremony from the National Memorial Arboretum due to coronavirus restrictions limiting the number of in-person attendees in France.
"And they're never forgotten, you think about them every day," Batt said as he remembers friends that were left behind.
In Ver-sur-Mer in France, British Ambassador to France Lord Edward Llewellyn later declared the memorial open, cutting a ribbon and laying down wreaths along with French Defence Minister Florence Parly.
According to its website, the memorial "records the names of the 22,442 servicemen and women under British command who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944."
It includes a sculpture, wall with names of the those who died on D-Day, stone columns with names of people who died between D-Day and August 1944, as well as a French Memorial for French civilians who lost their lives.
In the early hours of June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 allied troops set off from Portsmouth and the surrounding area to begin the air, sea and land attack on Normandy that ultimately led to the liberation of western Europe from the Nazi regime.