PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is celebrating U.S. and African veterans as well as French resistance fighters who took part in crucial but often-overlooked World War II landings on the Riviera.

At a ceremony Thursday in the southern town of Saint-Raphael marking 75 years since the operation to wrest southern France from Nazi control, Macron said, "your commitment is our heritage against darkness and ignorance."

He urged French mayors to name streets after African soldiers from then-French colonies brought in to fight. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and Guinea President Alpha Conde also took part in the ceremony.

Starting Aug. 15, 1944, some 350,000 U.S. and French troops landed on the Mediterranean coast for Operation Dragoon, which was intended to coincide with the D-Day invasion in Normandy in June but was delayed due to a lack of resources.

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