100 years later, WWI armistice is marked
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.
French President Emmanuel Macron greets crowds ahead of ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of WWI.