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World War Dead Remembered

queen_elizabeth.Services of commemoration are being held around the world to mark the end of World War I in 1918. Angela Merkel has become the first German chancellor to mark Armistice Day by attending the main French commemorative event in Paris.

In London, the Queen, politicians and armed forces chiefs recalled the passing of the WWI generation. Later, the US will observe Veterans Day, with President Barack Obama due at a wreath-laying ceremony.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the German chancellor rekindled the flame on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, in a move designed to signal a new era in Franco-German relations.

The two leaders also observed a silence, flanked by soldiers from a Franco-German brigade and officers from both countries’ armed forces. They were reunited just two days after both played a prominent role in the events marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The BBC’s Emma-Jane Kirby in Paris says the two leaders standing side-by-side at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honour the dead, while the national flags of both countries fluttered in the breeze, was a powerful and poignant symbol of reconciliation.

Speaking after the formal ceremonies, Mr Sarkozy told Mrs Merkel: “Your presence among us on this November 11th is a gesture of exceptional friendship – every French person knows how significant it is.”

Mrs Merkel responded: “Both dates, the end of the First World War, and the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall, remind us that we must always fight for the invaluable goods of peace and freedom, that we need to defend our values, of democracy and human rights, and that we keep working for European solidarity and partnership with America. That is our task.”

Mr Sarkozy also said 11 November should not be a day to celebrate one country’s win over another, and that it should be remembered that German children had cried for their dead fathers in exactly the same way as French children had.

Mrs Merkel said her country readily accepted the French gift of friendship and she thanked history for bringing the two nations together. Guns fell silent. The memorial service in London, at Westminster Abbey, is being held following the deaths this year of the final three veterans of the war living in the UK.

Source: dailyguideghana

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