No soldier from the war is known to still be alive but their voices are present through high school students here reading their letters written at the front on this day a century ago.
Just as Air Force One touched down in Paris on Friday night, Trump tweeted that Macron "has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russian Federation".
"The old demons are rising again", he intoned.
Fearful of waning USA commitment, Macron hinted at a new path forward for Europe during a radio interview this week in which he touted the "project of a sovereign Europe" and argued that the continent would not be protected "if we don't decide to have a true European army".
The commemorations started late, overshooting the centenary of the exact moment when, 100 years earlier at 11:00am, the eerie silence of peace replaced the thunder of guns on the Western France.
His counterparts, including Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, convened at the Élysée Palace before traveling together in motor coaches to the Arc de Triomphe. The feminist activist group Femen later claimed responsibility.
Russian officials said the French had been the ones to ask that no separate Trump-Putin meeting be arranged Sunday in order not to distract from the solemn commemorations.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also participated in armistice events outside the city today, at a battle site about two hours north of Paris by auto.
Some 10,000 police have been drafted in to ensure maximum security in a city repeatedly targeted by jihadists since 2015.
He lamented that the spirit of revenge and humiliation after World War I sparked renewed nationalism that led to World War II.
Australia and New Zealand lost tens of thousands of people on foreign fields far away in Europe and, most memorably in the brutal 1915 battle of Gallipoli in Turkey.
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In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will address crowds at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Sunday morning.
India, Hong Kong and Myanmar also held memorial events for a conflict that involved millions of troops from colonized countries in Asia and Africa.
After the service today, the world leaders will attend a lunch hosted by the French President.
Visiting Paris this week, Trump has bemoaned the cost to the United States of helping maintain European security, insisting countries here do more to protect themselves.
Following the Arc de Triomphe ceremony, Trump is expected to deliver remarks from Suresnes, an American cemetery just outside Paris.
The "America First" leader, who faced criticism on Saturday for cancelling a trip to an American cemetery because of rainy weather, will snub the Peace Forum.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery dedicated to the US soldiers killed in the Belleau Wood battle during World War One at Belleau, France, Nov. 10, 2018.
Trump's talks with Macron at the Elysee are likely to cover European concerns about Trump's plans to withdraw the United States from the 1980s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement and USA renewal of sanctions against Iran. Nearly 10 million soldiers died, sometimes tens of thousands on a single day.
The war's four years of carnage was intended - as the British and Americans idealistically insisted - to be the "war to end all wars".
"France knows what it owes these fighters that came from across the world, France salutes with honor the death of soldiers that it fought", he said.
"They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn't even defy the weather to pay his respects to the Fallen", Soames wrote on Twitter.