Ceremonies, events across Europe mark anniversary

Soldiers from the Royal Artillery man their 105mm light guns at Stonehenge, seen in background, in Wiltshire, southern England, as they fire 100 rounds before falling silent as the clock strikes 11am to mark the centennial for the end of the First World War.


By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: November 11, 2018

Portraits of soldiers who perished during World War I have been drawn on a number of British beaches and washed into the sea by rising tidewater.

The homage was carried out Sunday on beaches in Blackpool and Cornwall in England, Scotland's Shetland Islands and other parts of the U.K.

The portraits in the sand were part of the nationwide observances marking 100 years since World War I ended. English filmmaker Danny Boyle chose the late soldiers whose likenesses were etched on the beaches.

The ephemeral gestures of remembrance were meant to appear so people could express gratitude to some of the war's fallen soldiers before the tide away took their likenesses.

Many worked on the project Artists and volunteers used rakes and stencils to make the images starting early Sunday morning, when the tide was low.

Ambassadors, Romanian army officers and others laid wreaths at a war memorial as Romania marked the end of World War I a century ago.

Nearly 700,000 Romanians died of wounds, disease and famine during the war.

Dozens of British, American and Romanians attended a service Sunday, led by British military priest Rev. Martin Sheldon of the Royal Air Force. The 45-minute ceremony began in mist and ended in bright sunshine at the Commonwealth War Cemetery about 20 miles north of Bucharest.

A total of 90 pilots and sailors who died mainly in World War II, and a few in World War I are buried there, mostly British, South African and Canadian servicemen.

Romania entered the war on the side of the Allies in 1916 but then capitulated to the Central powers.

It re-entered the war in 1918, and doubled its territory after the war ended.

A senior representative of the German government has for the first time taken part in Britain's Armistice Day observances.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier laid a wreath at the foot of the Cenotaph monument in central London, just after Prince Charles placed a wreath there on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Steinmeier also saluted the Cenotaph in a show of respect for Britain's fallen soldiers during the commemoration on Sunday of the 100th anniversary of World War I's end.

British officials say the presence of the German president on Sunday was meant to symbolize the friendship between the nations were adversaries in both world wars.

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting 130 world leaders and dignitaries for lunch at the presidential Elysee Palace now that the ceremony commemorating the armistice that ended World War I has finished.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are at the head table near Macron. Other guests at the host's table include Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Spain's King Felipe VI and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The companions of head of states and government were invited to a lunch hosted by France's first lady, Brigitte Macron, at the Palace of Versailles west of Paris. A private concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is set to follow.

Pope Francis says World War I should serve as a severe warning to reject a "culture of war."

But Francis observed that the war's lessons have been ignored, saying "it seems we never learn" as he addressed faithful in Vatican City's St. Peter's Square on Sunday.

The pope, who often decries the arms industry, added: "Let's invest in peace, not war!"

Francis noted that the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and of churches worldwide would toll Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of the war's end.

He called the 1914-18 war "a severe admonition for everyone to reject the culture of war and search for every legitimate means to end the conflicts still bloodying several regions of the world."

Francis also quoted the definition of war as "useless slaughter" provided by Benedict XV, who was pope during World War I."

Family members of soldiers who were wounded or died during World War I are among the large crowds lining a rain-soaked Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris for the commemoration of the war's end a century ago.

Peter Kearsey, a 72-year-old from Australia, recalled the 28 facial reconstruction surgeries his father underwent after having his face blasted with shrapnel in 1917 in Belgium. Kearsey says his father, Bill, survived thanks to a friend who pulled him from a trench.

Kearsey said the rain that fell during the ceremony attended by dozens of world leaders for armistice centenary "is very fitting" since soldiers who fought in trenches during the Great War endured miserable rain and mud.

He added: "It's raining today, 100 years later."

The Kearsey family also is touring WWI battlefields during their trip.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has led a national act of remembrance on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The black-clad queen watched from a balcony in central London on Sunday as her son Prince Charles laid a wreath on her behalf at the foot of the Cenotaph, a memorial honoring fallen servicemen and women.

The solemn act marked by two minutes of silence was repeated in dozens of towns, cities and villages throughout Britain.

Prince William and Prince Harry also laid wreaths at the Cenotaph, as did other senior members of the royal family.

A wreath also was placed on behalf of the queen's 97-year-old husband Prince Philip, who did not attend.

Prime Minister Theresa May and other leading national figures also placed wreaths at the memorial in central London.

The feminist activist group Femen has claimed responsibility for topless protesters who disrupted U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade on its way to a ceremony commemorating the end of World War I.

One woman easily breached tight security along the Champs-Elysees avenue, walking on the midst of the motorcade and shouting "fake peace maker" as the cars passed.

Officers seized her afterward.

At least one other topless protester also made it into the avenue, but was unable to reach the cars.

Femen's topless protesters have repeatedly breached security around world leaders and major events, usually topless.

European Council head Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence by laying wreaths at monuments to key figures in rebuilding the country's statehood after World War I.

Tusk placed flowers at the monument to the first state and armed forces leader, Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, by the Belvedere Palace where Pilsudski resided.

Tusk, an opponent of Poland's right-wing government, said the political disputes about Poland's future are "sometime too strong" but stressed that "our bond is much stronger and much more important, because it is you, Poland."

He will also take part at a noon state ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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