French president kicks off WWI centenary commemoration

STRASBOURG, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — French President Emmanuel Macron attended a concert in a cathedral here on Sunday evening, alongside his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in what was the first of a series of centenary commemorations to mark the end of World War I which will take place in 11 French departments.

The French president welcomed Steinmeier on the forecourt of the Strasbourg cathedral, where a European Union (EU) flag was flying for the occasion. After a military ceremony, they also attended a concert.

One hundred years after the end of WWI, Macron began Sunday evening in Strasbourg, an Alsatian city symbolic of Franco-German reconciliation, on a “memorial tour” which will bring him throughout the country to emblematic sites of the historical conflict.

In the space of a week, Macron will travel across 11 departments (county-sized French regions) before officiating Armistice Day celebrations on Nov. 11 beneath the Arc de Triomphe, where the French head of state will light the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the presence of some 60 foreign leaders.

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