Vic­tors, de­feated, mark ar­mistice

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

Paris, the City of Light, al­ways was the grand­est prize of the First World War, ei­ther to con­quer or de­fend.

So it is only fit­ting that when vic­tors and van­quished meet to mark the cen­ten­nial of the ar­mistice this week­end, the big­gest cer­e­mony should be on the famed Champs-El­y­sees at the

Arc de Tri­om­phe.

On Fri­day, some lead­ers be­gan re­mem­brance events in a wide cres­cent of ceme­ter­ies and trenchrut­ted bat­tle­fields north of the cap­i­tal.

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May laid wreaths for the first and last

Bri­tish sol­dier killed in the fight­ing — the two were buried across from one an­other near Mons in south­ern Bel­gium. One grave holds the re­mains of Pvt. John Parr, killed Aug. 21, 1914. The other grave is of Pvt. Ge­orge El­li­son, who was shot on Nov. 11, 1918 — the war’s last day.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron con­tin­ued his pil­grim­age of First World War sites and caught up with May, as the two present day lead­ers of the Al­lied forces that de­feated Ger­many walked past graves at the Thiep­val memo­rial.

“Each ceme­tery and memo­rial across the world is a unique and poignant re­minder of the cost of the First World War,” said May.

Sixty-nine heads of state and gov­ern­ment will un­der­score that mes­sage at the Tomb of the Un­known Sol­dier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month on Sun­day, ex­actly a cen­tury af­ter the ar­mistice.

On Sun­day, in a show of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel will open an in­ter­na­tional peace fo­rum in Paris with Macron.

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