German, French leaders mark 100 years since Battle of Verdun

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.

Visitors walk among the thousands of crosses marking the graves of French soldiers killed in the Battle of Verdun at the ossuary of Douaumont on Friday in Verdun, France. The battle that took place between February 21 and December 18, 1916 killed 1,63,000 French and 1,43,000 German soldiers and wounded hundreds of thousands of others.

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.