Nations gather to mark the centenary of World War I

World Today

Belgium’s King Philippe, left, prepares to lay a wreath during a commemoration ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I at the Cointe Allies’ Memorial in Liege, Belgium on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Representatives of 83 countries — including Belgium, France, Britain, and Germany — gathered Monday to mark the centenary of the First World War in Liege, Belgium. It is the place where fighting started a century ago.

The First World War, also known as the “Great War,” claimed an estimated 14 million lives between 1914 and 1918. This includes five million civilians and as nine million soldiers, sailors and airmen from 28 countries. At least seven million troops were left permanently disabled.

Heads of state gather in Belgium to mark WWI centenary

WWI Centenary

Representatives of 83 countries -- including Belgium, France, Britain, and Germany -- gathered Monday to mark the centenary of the First World War in Liege, Belgium. It is the place where fighting started a century ago.

Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde welcomed German President Joachim Gauck for the late-morning ceremony at the Cointe allied memorial.

Photos: WWI Centenary

In Great Britain, there was a ceremony in Glasgow, Scotland, and a late-evening candlelit vigil scheduled for London’s Westminster Abbey. Commemorations will be led by a national service of remembrance at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff at 22:00 BST, marking the start of four years of events in Wales.

People in the region are encouraged to switch lights out between 22:00 and 23:00 BST, with candlelit vigils being planned. The Lights Out project was inspired by the words of wartime foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey.

“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time,” he said on the eve of war.

Report compiled with information from BBC News, Reuters, and The Associated Press