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Americans and French commemorated Memorial Day and the centennial of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood at a ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. There was an overflow crowd with people watching the ceremony on a oversized screen at the front of the cemetery
Americans and French commemorated Memorial Day and the centennial of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood at a ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. There was an overflow crowd with people watching the ceremony on a oversized screen at the front of the cemetery (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Americans and French commemorated Memorial Day and the centennial of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood at a ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. There was an overflow crowd with people watching the ceremony on a oversized screen at the front of the cemetery
Americans and French commemorated Memorial Day and the centennial of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood at a ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. There was an overflow crowd with people watching the ceremony on a oversized screen at the front of the cemetery (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The Marine color guard marches through Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau France, prior to the Memorial Day and World War I centennial commemoration, Sunday, May 27, 2018.
The Marine color guard marches through Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau France, prior to the Memorial Day and World War I centennial commemoration, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A line of Marines hold wreaths they were to present for laying during the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. The ceremony also commemorated the World War I centennial.
A line of Marines hold wreaths they were to present for laying during the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. The ceremony also commemorated the World War I centennial. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Marine Sgt. Maj. Darrell Carver, 6th Marine Regiment, walks through the graves at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. American and French marked Memorial Day and the centennial of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood with a ceremony at the cemetery.
Marine Sgt. Maj. Darrell Carver, 6th Marine Regiment, walks through the graves at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. American and French marked Memorial Day and the centennial of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood with a ceremony at the cemetery. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The 6th Marines Firing Detail stand in formation before the start of the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France.
The 6th Marines Firing Detail stand in formation before the start of the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Marine Cpl. Alexander Sturdiviant drinks from the famed Bulldog fountain at Belleau, France, following a Memorial Day Ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Sturdiviant is attached to 1st Battalion, 6th Marines Black Sea Rotation. Drinking from the fountain is a Marine ritual.
Marine Cpl. Alexander Sturdiviant drinks from the famed Bulldog fountain at Belleau, France, following a Memorial Day Ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Sturdiviant is attached to 1st Battalion, 6th Marines Black Sea Rotation. Drinking from the fountain is a Marine ritual. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Marine Sgt. Kimsaim Garcia salutes during the playing of the national anthems during the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France, Sunday, May 27, 2018.. Garcia is attached to the U.S. embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
Marine Sgt. Kimsaim Garcia salutes during the playing of the national anthems during the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France, Sunday, May 27, 2018.. Garcia is attached to the U.S. embassy in Brussels, Belgium. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Gen. Robert B Neller, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, center, and other servicemembers and dignitaries walk towards the exit of the  Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France, past throngs of applauding spectators, following the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. They walked through the village to a reception, where Marines drank from the famed Bulldog Fountain.
Gen. Robert B Neller, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, center, and other servicemembers and dignitaries walk towards the exit of the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France, past throngs of applauding spectators, following the Memorial Day ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. They walked through the village to a reception, where Marines drank from the famed Bulldog Fountain. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

BELLEAU, France — As the U.S. Marines marched off the field Sunday, the French who had gathered at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony broke out in applause.

The clapping continued as they marched along the straight lane that leads to the cemetery gates.

The ceremony, observed by a standing-room-only crowd, took place on a grassy knoll beneath the chapel, flanked by the cemetery’s 2,289 graves.

The event also marked the centennial of the Battle of Belleau Wood, where Marines and Army troops fought a bloody battle against German forces during World War I.

Now, 100 years later, former foes have become allies, something that was stressed by the ceremony’s three main speakers, French Maj. Gen. Vincent Guionie, German army Lt. Gen. Carsten Jacobsen and Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller.

The ceremony also featured military bands from all three countries and poetry readings by students from a local high school.

The generals and other dignitaries laid wreaths at the steps of the chapel and the 6th Marine firing detail fired a salute before a bugler, dressed in a World War I-era uniform, played taps.

Following the ceremony, led by a Marine band playing the "Marines' Hymn," Marines and locals walked down to the Belleau Chateau for a reception.

Once there the Marines had a drink of water from the Bulldog fountain, a ritual for all Marines who visit what was once the Belleau battlefield.

abrams.mike@stripes.com Twitter: @stripes_photog

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