Armistice Day marked across Europe


Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Europe has marked Armistice Day with ceremonies and moments of silence, while France opened an international memorial on a former battlefield.

This year’s events have special significance because 2014 is the centenary of the start of the First World War.

French president Francois Hollande laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Later, he inaugurated an international war memorial at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, in northern France, in the presence of German, British and Belgian officials.

The Ring of Memory carries the names of 600,000 soldiers from over 40 countries who died in the region during the war. Names are listed alphabetically without their nationalities.

“Yesterday’s enemies, these men are now re-united in death as if they belong to the same family,” said Mr Hollande, whose grandfather was a soldier during the First World War.

Commemorations are made to “pass this memory on to future generations” and “remind the world’s leaders of their duties toward peace, security, human rights and democracy”, he said.

A few hours before the ceremony, a military helicopter forced a plane dragging a banner calling for Mr Hollande’s resignation to land.

A remembrance ceremony also took place in Belgium in the medieval town of Ypres, where the buglers played the Last Post under the Menin Gate.

The gate’s vaulted ceiling lists the names of more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War and have no known grave.

Along with marching bands, pipers and members of the armed forces, large crowds of ordinary people marched in what is called the Poppy Parade.

Joan Dabbs from Hereford, England, who served as a nurse in a military hospital during the Second World War, attended the ceremony in Ypres.

“I’m here to pay homage to all soldiers of all wars. My younger brother was killed in Normandy on D-Day. It’s a terrible history, but we should never, never forget it,” she said.

Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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