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VERDUN (FRANCE):French President Francois Hollande and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel want their countries’ improbable friendship to be a source of hope for today’s fractured Europe as they commemorate the centenary of the longest battle of World War I.
In extensive ceremonies on Sunday in eastern France, Mr. Hollande and Ms. Merkel are marking 100 years since the 10-month Battle of Verdun, (February 21, 1916 to December 18, 1916) which killed 1,63,000 French and 1,43,000 German soldiers and wounded hundreds of thousands of others.
Educating the youth
With no survivors left to remember the war, the commemoration events are focusing on educating youth, and will include 4,000 French and German children.
Ms. Merkel said on Saturday the event shows how good German-French relations were today and the achievements of European unity. She expressed hope Britain would not vote to leave the European Union next month.