WISSEMBOURG, France -- Wind and cold rain enveloped U.S. Army Europe Soldiers who joined their French hosts here Nov. 11 for a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I.

"This weather is fitting," said Brig. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, commanding general, 5th Signal Command. "Years ago, Soldiers were down in the trenches fighting for their country on a day like this."

The day's observance began with a procession of veterans and city officials into St. Peter and Paul Cathedral for a mass, followed by a march to the Wissembourg World War I memorial. There Lawrence, Wissembourg Mayor Pierre Bertrand, and a delegation of French national police officers laid wreaths at the foot of the memorial in honor of Soldiers who have died in all wars.

This is the first time the city of Wissembourg invited American military to participate in their Armistice Day observance. "We are happy to have the American general come and share this event with us," said Betrand.

The armistice that ended the first world war was signed by the Allies and Germany at Compiegne, France November 11, 1918 to mark the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. It took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Armistice Day is an official holiday in France and was renamed Veterans Day in the U.S.