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World Briefing / France

Old foes honor their war dead

November 12, 2009|Times Wire Reports

French and German leaders joined together on Armistice Day for the first time to remember their war dead and pledged to work more closely as partners in Europe.

To the sound of the national anthems of the two former enemies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy laid down a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

It was the first time a German leader had attended France's Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I hostilities on the western front on Nov. 11, 1918.

"We gather this November to commemorate not the victory of one people over another, but hardship that was as terrible for one side as it was for the other," Sarkozy said in a speech. "German orphans cried over the death of their fathers in combat just as French orphans did."

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