France's last WWI veteran dies and receives honors
Italian-born Ponticelli, the last of more than eight million men who fought under French colours in the 1914-18 war that tore Europe apart, died on Wednesday at his home in a Paris suburb.
State officials across France held a minute of silence, and flags flew at half mast on public buildings for the ceremony led by Sarkozy and his predecessor Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Italian Defence Minister Arturo Parisi.
The president laid a wreath in honour of the war's 8.5 million "poilus," the affectionate nickname meaning hairy or tough that had been given to French foot soldiers since Napoleonic times but became associated with World War I.
Germany's last veteran from World War I also died in January this year. There are now just nine living veterans worldwide of the conflict which France, Britain, Russia and later the United States, eventually won against Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Turkish-led Ottoman Empire.
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History