By Rachel Huggins - 06/07/14 09:51 AM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday commemorated the 70th anniversary of D-Day at the home of his family's estate in France.
Kerry traveled to Saint Briac, where his mother's family have owned property for years, a day after attending ceremonies marking the invasion of France in Normandy, according to the Associated Press.
"To me, Saint Briac's World War II legacy isn't just about loss and destruction," he said, "It's a legacy of strength. It's a legacy of solidarity. Ultimately, it's a legacy of good prevailing over evil — of freedom prevailing over tyranny."
He also credited the small seaside town for helping to save heirlooms from his family's estate, which was used as a Nazis headquarters and destroyed after the invasion.
"I can still hear the sound of the rubble and broken glass that was crunching under our shoes as we walked through what used to be her house," he recalled, saying he only remembered remains of "a stone staircase to the sky and an old, brick chimney."