PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron marked Remembrance Day by relighting the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, below a spectacular giant tricolour flag.
Greeted by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Macron laid a wreath and inspected troops during the otherwise low-key ceremony marking 101 years since the Armistice that ended the combat of World War I.
He also stopped by the nearby tomb of French wartime leader Georges Clemenceau.
The rousing sound of military band brass music was slightly muffled by persistent rain for the hundreds of spectators — including former French Presidents Francois Holland and Nicolas Sarkozy – thronging the Champs Elysees avenue, some of whom waved French flags.
Macron was lunching with guests at the Elysee Palace, who include flag bearers and presidents of veterans associations.
The French leader will later inaugurate a monument for the hundreds of soldiers who died in foreign operations since 1963, whom the military calls “the fourth generation of fire.”
Since the 1960s, 549 French soldiers have died in 17 theatres of conflict including 141 in Lebanon, 129 in Chad, 85 in Afghanistan and 78 in the former Yugoslavia.
Commemorations were also underway in France’s wartime ally, Britain.
The Royal British Legion urged the nation to remember the 100th anniversary of the first two-minute silence observed on Armistice Day by shutting out modern technology and all distractions.