Heads of state gather in Belgium to mark start of WWI
Newscast Media BRUSSELS—More than fifty heads of state and high representatives
of European countries got together in the south-eastern Belgian city of Liege Monday
to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (WWI).
Members of the Belgian and British royal families, President of the European
Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, as well as other heads of state attended a
ceremony to mark 100 years since the Germans invaded Belgium.
The heads of state arrived in Liege in the morning where they were welcomed by King
Philippe of Belgium and went to the Cointe Allied Nations Memorial for a service
including wreath laying and a minute’s silence.
King Philippe, French President Francois Hollande, German President Joachim Gauck
and the Duke of Cambridge Prince William gave short speeches to pay tribute to the
victims during the war.
King Philippe said in his speech the commemoration is of vital importance for building
the future more effectively. He said the Europeans dream of a peaceful, united and
democratic Europe from generation to generation.
He added that people need to cherish what they have today and pass on the
message: real understanding and mutual planning will bring us a longtime peace.
In August 1914, The German Second Army crossed the frontier into neutral Belgium so
as to attack France from the north.
The Battle of Liege ran for days from August 4 to 16, 1914, and led to surprisingly
heavy losses for the German invasion force by the numerically heavily outnumbered
The four-year conflict from 1914 to 1918 known as the Great War left some 10 million
dead and 20 million injured on the battlefields. Millions more perished under
occupation through disease and hunger. Add