Skip to main content
// //

French President Emmanuel Macron lays a wreath at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, on Nov. 11, 2019.

Francois Mori/The Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron led Armistice Day commemorations on Monday by visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, as a giant tricolour flag flew overhead.

Greeted by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Macron laid a wreath and inspected troops during the ceremony celebrating 101 years since the Armistice that ended the slaughter of the First World War.

Music from a military brass band was slightly muffled by persistent rain for the hundreds of spectators – including former French Presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy – thronging the Champs Elysees avenue. Some waved French flags.

Story continues below advertisement

Macron later inaugurated a bronze sculpture and a memorial wall in the Andre-Citroen park, as a monument to the 549 French soldiers who died in foreign operations since 1963. They died in 17 theatres of conflict including 141 in Lebanon, 129 in Chad, 85 in Afghanistan and 78 in the former Yugoslavia.

“On this wall, in stone, we have engraved your memory,” a solemn Macron said.

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.

“This year we’re asking the nation to pause – mute your phone, close your laptop, switch off the telly – for just two minutes and pay your respects to our Armed Forces community, past and present,” the legion said on its website.

A lone musician at the National Memorial Arboretum played “The Last Post,” as silence fell. People at ceremonies across the country bowed their heads in respect.

In a short break from campaigning for the Dec. 12 elections, Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid a wreath during a service at St Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton while Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attended a ceremony outside Islington Town Hall, north London.

Story continues below advertisement

Britain’s largest ceremony took place Sunday. The event in central London is traditionally held on the closest Sunday to the anniversary of the end of the First World War at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.

Queen Elizabeth II led the nation in remembering the war dead. The queen, dressed in black, watched from a balcony as her son and heir Prince Charles laid a wreath of scarlet poppies on the Cenotaph war memorial near Parliament.

The 93-year-old monarch, who served as an army mechanic during the Second World War, performed the wreath-laying herself for most of her 67-year reign, but has cut back on her public duties.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies