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France gives former President Jacques Chirac full military burial

By Nicholas Sakelaris
France gives former President Jacques Chirac full military burial
The flag-draped coffin of former French President Jacques Chirac is carried inside the Church of Saint-Sulpice for a memorial service in Paris Monday. Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/EPA-EFE

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- World leaders joined the French in mourning former President Jacques Chirac on Monday as he was buried with full military honors.

The French had a national day of mourning that included private and national ceremonies for Chirac, who died Thursday at age 86. About 200 family and friends gathered at the Hotel des Invalides, where current President Emmanuel Macron led a military tribute.

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Chirac's grandson, Martin Chirac-Rey, 23, addressed the crowd at the private service.

Military veterans could be seen wiping their eyes as the funeral march played. Macron followed the coffin out of Les Invalides. The former military hospital has become a museum with monuments from France's history. French politicians attended, including former Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy, Giscard d'Estaing and Francois Hollande.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Hungarian Prime Minister Vicktor Orban, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and others attended the public funeral at the Church of Saint Sulpice in Paris. Pianist Daniel Barendoim played Schubert. Chirac will be laid to rest at Montparnasse cemetery south of Paris next to his daughter.

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Chirac was president of France from 1995 to 2007. Critics have accused Chirac of accomplishing little during his time as president. He's best remembered in the United States for staunchly opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He was also later convicted for his role in the "fake jobs" scandal from his time as mayor of Paris.

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