100 years later, WWI ar­mistice is marked

Daily Press - - Nation & World - By Raf Casert As­so­ci­ated Press

PARIS — Paris al­ways was the grand­est prize of World War I, 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 ceme­ter­ies and 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 one an­other near Mons in south­ern Bel­gium. One grave holds the re­mains of Pvt. John Parr, killed Aug. 21, 1914. The other is of Pvt. Ge­orge El­li­son, shot on Nov. 11, 1918 — the war’s last day.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron con­tin­ued his pil­grim­age of WWI sites and caught up with May, as the two cur­rent 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.

Far from every sur­viv­ing U.S. sol­dier from the 19141918 war made it to the French cap­i­tal, but on Sun­day, Pres­i­dent Donald Trump will join Macron and oth­ers to re­mem­ber the mil­lions who died.

Car­ry­ing the her­itage of de­feated Ger­many, Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel will be vis­it­ing the site in the woods north of Paris where mil­i­tary lead­ers agreed to the ar­mistice at 5 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, six hours be­fore it took ef­fect.

LU­DOVIC MARIN/GETTY-AFP

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron greets crowds ahead of cer­e­monies mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of WWI.

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