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World pauses, remembers World War I vets

VERDUN, France, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Dignitaries from France and Britain on Tuesday laid wreaths at Verdun, France, to note the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The ceremony at the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Europe was one of many across the globe commemorating the end of the "Great War," the BBC reported.

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Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall were French President Nicolas Sarkozy's guests at the event at Verdun. The backdrop of the service was the ossuary containing bones of 130,000 men who died in the fighting, the British broadcaster said.

French and German troops fought for eight months at Verdun, where more than 60 million shells pocked the land.

Three of four surviving British World War I veterans, representing the country's air force, army and navy, participated in a ceremony at London's Cenotaph.

In Australia, which lost 60,000 men in the war, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called for peace during a speech at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

"We have all endured a most bloody century," he said. "Let us resolve afresh at the dawn of this new century ... that this might be a truly pacific peaceful century."

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