Last French WWI veteran dies





France's last remaining veteran of World War I died Wednesday at age 110 after outliving 8.4 million Frenchmen who fought in what they called "la Grande Guerre."

Lazare Ponticelli, who was born in Italy but chose to fight for France and was a French citizen for most of the past century, died at his home in the Paris suburb of Kremlin-Bicetre, the national veterans' office said.

"It is to him and his generation that we owe in large part the peaceful and pacified Europe of today. It is up to us to be worthy of that," President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement.

France planned a national funeral ceremony Monday honoring Ponticelli and all the "poilus," an affectionate term meaning hairy or tough that the French use for their soldiers who fought in World War I.



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