Thursday, March 5, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Former enemies unite for World War I commemoration

By
August 06, 2014 |

SAINT-SYMPHORIEN, Belgium — Separated by only a small patch of yellow daisies at the Saint-Symphorien military cemetery lie two former enemies: British Captain Kenneth James Roy and German Gefreiter Reinhold Dietrich. Also between the two are some 9 million dead soldiers over four years.

Roy died in the first month of World War I, trying to stop the early German onslaught through Belgium. Dietrich died two weeks before the war ended with a German defeat.

On Monday, from Glasgow, Scotland to Liege and the small Saint-Symphorien in southern Belgium, leaders of the former enemies Belgium, France, Britain and Germany stood together in a spirit of reconciliation to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of conflict that became known as The Great War.

On Aug. 4, 1914 Germany invaded neutral Belgium as part of a planned attack on France, forcing Britain to declare war by nightfall and unleash the biggest conflagration the world had known.

“It opened Pandora’s Box,” said German President Joachim Gauck, who acknowledged that it “is anything but self-evident to stand and talk to you on this day” and be warmly welcomed by the nation Germany overran.

Gauck openly spoke of “the great injustice” of invading Belgium and the wanton destruction of the university library in Leuven and other civilian brutalities during the first weeks of the war.

British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the spirit to heal such deep wounds and such deep-rooted enmity.

“We should never fail to cherish the peace between these nations and never underestimate the patient work it has taken to build that peace,” he said at dusk, a few hours before the moment Britain declared war on Germany a century ago.

During the morning ceremonies at the allied memorial in Liege many leaders, including French President Francois Hollande, insisted that European nations have to act more forceful in conflicts from Ukraine to Iraq and Gaza.

“We cannot remain neutral,” Hollande said. “We have an obligation to react and it is Europe which must take on these responsibilities.”

He called on the same nations who were enemies then to stand together now. Over four years which ended with the Nov. 11, 1918 armistice, the German and Austro-Hungarian empires faced Britain, France, Russia and, later, the United States.

At the intimate Saint-Symphorien cemetery in southern Belgium a balmy sun kissed the daisies standing in between Roy and Dietrich.

Even in defeat, the allied effort that claimed Roy’s life on Aug. 23, 1914, helped slow the German advance toward France that eventually bogged down as it was closing in on Paris.

Gauck said the German plan that was supposed to secure early victory was “hapless” and deplored German actions against civilians and cities its forces passed through during the early weeks of the war.

By the end of autumn 1914, both sides dug in, and from the early battles, the war quickly changed into trench warfare on the Western Front, with hundreds of thousands of casualties in a barren landscape where poison gas often wafted through the air.

The war wasn’t expected to last long. The battlefront scars would slowly and agonizingly rip across Europe, ravage whole communities and millions of families. It produced a moral wasteland in Germany that would become fertile ground for the rise of Nazism. Four empires would disappear.

When Dietrich died, on Oct. 28, 1918, it was the Germans’ time to withdraw in defeat.

WWI is now often depicted as senseless slaughter without a big moral cause that claimed an estimated 14 million lives, including 5 million civilians, sailors and airmen from 28 countries.

British Prime Minister David Cameron sought to debunk that notion.

“That is wrong. These men signed up to prevent the domination of a continent, to preserve the principles of freedom and sovereignty that we cherish today,” he said, only dozens of footsteps away from the headstones of Roy and Dietrich and 241 other Commonwealth and 288 German casualties.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Show resilience in the face of adversity

    By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

     
    Real McCoy II Ferry set for maintenance

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

     
    Vacaville police slate annual awards ceremony

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

    Limited damage to apartment from carport fire

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Students sample industry choices during school career fair

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Vallejo police arrest 4 in connection with 3 killings

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    National Red Cross Month celebrates heroes

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Il Fiorello schedules citrus class

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Jury convicts ex-con who served as own lawyer

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

    Red Carpet Gala to benefit theater foundation

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

     
    Pet remembrance event set in Vallejo

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

     
    Friday concert benefits Families Helping Families

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

     
    Suisun City police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

     
    Justices sharply divided over health care law subsidies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Second Los Angeles hospital reports ‘superbug’ infections

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    California lawmaker pushes child care worker vaccinations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Children in Southern California breathing easier, study says

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Failures by 3 governments preceded homeless man’s death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Obama signs Homeland Security funding bill into law

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    House panel issues subpoena for Clinton’s personal emails

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Feds: Evidence backs Ferguson officer’s account in shooting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    A defiant Alabama regains ground against gay marriage

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Microsoft co-founder says he found sunken Japan WWII warship

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Coal mine blast kills at least 24 in war-torn east Ukraine

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    .

    Living

    Today in History: March 5, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: March 5, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: March 5, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    I can’t tell if I still want to be married, or just don’t want to be alone

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ tops MTV Movie Awards nominations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Glen Campbell children fighting wife’s control of affairs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    DiCaprio partners with Netflix for series of documentaries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Posey has 2-run double in Giants’ 9-2 loss to A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Local report: Vanden softball slips by Rodriguez with late run

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

    Curry shoots Warriors to 102-93 victory over Bucks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    NCAA reports big jump in home runs with new flat-seam ball

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    MLS, players agree in principle to 5-year deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Prosecutors can’t bring up Florida shooting in ex-NFLer case

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Vikings agree to trade Cassel to Bills

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Scott opens a season of change at Doral

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    ‘It WAS him': Defense admits Tsarnaev bombed Boston Marathon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    With Peterson’s status in question, Vikings pay a visit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    NFL stadium supporters in LA suburb file ballot paperwork

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Alex Johnson, AL batting champ in 1970, dies at age 72

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Goodell: NFL responsible for Super Bowl seating problems

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Former player Nate Jackson calls for NFL to allow marijuana

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Phoenix to install tire barriers before NASCAR visit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Pirelli sticks with same tire choices for first 4 F1 races

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Aaron D. Malave

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Thelma A. Roche

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Cesar Luis Garcia-Regalado

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Rodolfo Landabora Porquez

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

    .

    Comics

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9