Top
Millennium Post

Remembrance

Remembrance

Precisely a century ago, the unnecessary First World War came to an end. Now dozens of world leaders have converged to participate in a solemn ceremony in France to remember the many who gave their lives between 1914 and 1918. French President Emmanuel Macron will lead the international Armistice Day commemorations by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which lies at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. As part of the ceremony, eight French high school students will read testimonies written by soldiers fighting on the Western Front in 1918, a Chinese worker serving in Normandy and a young French woman. Classical musicians will play pieces by Bach and Ravel and award-winning singer Angélique Kidjo will perform a Togolese song celebrating unity. Macron, who will deliver a speech in front of the assembled dignitaries, will later host a peace forum at which German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives the opening address. The remembrances are the culmination of four years of commemorative events to mark one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th Century. Millions of soldiers and civilians lost their lives in what became known as the Great War.

According to the official programme, soldiers from more than 80 countries laid down their arms on the Western Front. US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are among those in Paris for the commemorations, which coincide with Veterans Day in the United States. Some 117,000 American military personnel died in World War I. The centenary of the Armistice is also being marked elsewhere in Europe. In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II is expected to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in central London. The Royal family, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will attend a national service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey. The UK government has invited 10,000 members of the public to march past the Cenotaph in a "People's Procession" to give thanks and pay their respects to all who served in World War I. It has also called for bells to be rung across the nation and around the world to replicate the spontaneous ringing of bells across Britain. May on Friday attended ceremonies of remembrance at military cemeteries alongside Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in France and Belgium. "A century ago British forces fought side by side with our allies in Europe on the Western Front. Today in France and Belgium we reflect on our shared history, but also look ahead to our shared future, built on peace, prosperity and friendship," May said. "We remember the heroes who lost their lives in the horror of the trenches. As the sun sets on one hundred years of remembrance, we will never forget their sacrifice."

Next Story
Share it