1916-2016 Commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Verdun
François Hollande addressed especially to the new generations to warn them against the dangers of "nationalism, imperialism, rivalries and fears that drive individuals to focus on their personal and cause the loss of all."
On Sunday, May 29th in Douaumont, the wind of recollection was over the cemetery. Thousands of people gathered to remember the courage, the dedication and the tenacity of 300,000 soldiers who fell on the Verdun battlefield.
To commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Verdun, the German filmmaker Volker Schlondorff was entrusted with the staging of the ceremony : 3,400 French and German young people suddenly emerged from the forest nearby, ran through the field of white crosses to stumble and fall in front of the ossuary, as if they had been struck by the Grim Reaper.
If the name of Verdun reminds us of the bloodiest pages of the First World War, it has also become a symbol of reconciliation and peace in Europe. This is what the German Chancellor and the President of the French Republic, standing side by side under the same umbrella, stated in their speeches : the memory of those who fall shall not be forgotten. In their memory, people of Europe shall unite and support each other.
François Hollande addressed especially the new generations as they embody future and hope. He warned against the dangers of "nationalism, imperialism, rivalries and fears that drive individuals to focus on their personal and cause the loss of all."
In Verdun, soldiers were kept awake for 300 days and 300 nights by the hissing sound of shells falling like the autumn heavy rain. It is now our turn to keep our eyes open and to sustain brotherhood and peace in Europe.