Paris (CNN)Marking the breakout of peace after World War I, President Donald Trump on Sunday will honor a century-old transatlantic alliance that some fear is fraying.
He and dozens of his global counterparts will gather at the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris to mark 100 years since the nightmares of World War I ended, a conclusion brought about partly by the entry of the United States into the bitter, nationalism-fueled conflict.The armistice that took effect at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 ended what was then the war meant to end all wars. When conflict broke out on the continent two decades later, the United States was again pulled into bloody battle, cementing its role in maintaining European security.But decades later, as living memories fade of the trenches and the poison gas, nationalism is on the rise. It’s been fueled by Trump himself, who has proudly identified himself as a nationalist as he advances an “America First” agenda.Leaders mark 100 years since end of World War I with solemn ceremoniesVisiting Paris this week, Trump has bemoaned the cost to the US of helping maintain European security, insisting countries here do more to protect themselves. The cost of securing Europe is a reliable bête noire for Trump, one he’s railed against on the campaign trail and in meetings with his counterparts.Read MoreHis actions have raised questions about the state of longstanding US relationships. The man who was once his top European parter, French President Emmanuel Macron, now appears to have become just another world leader subject to ill-timed insults and jabs. Trump’s other counterparts — British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — have also been subject to ridicule.Trump did not appear overly eager on Saturday to dispel the notion he is uninterested in bettering US-Europe ties. During a morning meeting with Macron at the Élysée Palace, the effusive expressions of bonhomie that once colored the two men’s relationship were gone, replaced by wooden expressions of cooperation.Later, Trump canceled a planned visit to an American cemetery 50 miles outside of Paris. The White House cited the rain, which sometimes grounds the President’s Marine One helicopter. Trump, Macron gloss over differences in France after rough startTrump remained out of view for most of the afternoon, even as fellow leaders — including Macron, May, Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — fanned out across the French countryside to mark the solemn anniversary at hallowed locations.Trump will have a chance on Sunday to make up for the cancellation, which drew criticism and accusations he was ignoring the sacrifice of American military personnel who died in World War I.Following the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe — which will feature a review of troops, musical performances and an address from Macron — Trump will attend a lunch for all the world leaders, which could lead to encounters with Merkel, May, Russian President Vladimir Putin or other assembled dignitaries.Then he will visit another American cemetery, this one closer to Paris, to lay a wreath and deliver his own speech. He’s due back in Washington by Sunday evening.The visit to Paris came about after Trump scrubbed plans for a military parade in Washington, deeming the $90 million price tag too steep. He originally devised the parade having been inspired by Bastille Day celebrations in Paris last year, which featured tanks, troops in formation and aircraft flyovers.The ceremony on Sunday will occur in the same vicinity, but won’t be as overly militaristic; it is intended to commemorate the end of war and not the practice of it.