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100,000 Attend State Funeral for Poland President


About 100,000 Poles turned out for Sunday's state funeral for President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria in the southern city of Krakow. The ceremonies ended a week of mourning for 96 people killed in a plane crash a week ago.

A final day of memorial services for President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, an elaborate holy mass as St. Mary's Basilica in central Krakow. The church filled with family and friends along with government officials, foreign leaders and delegations.

The president and first lady were among 96 people who died when their plane crashed near the Russian town of Smolensk. They were on their way to a memorial service honoring 22,000 Polish military officers killed by Soviet troops in 1940 in the Katyn forest in western Russia.

Katyn remains a defining moment in Polish history and has severely troubled relations between Russia and Poland.

At the funeral, Speaker of the Polish Parliament and Acting President Bronislav Komorowski said he hoped the tragedy of the plane crash may help bring the two nations together. He said there have been many signs of warmth and understanding from the Russian people and words and gestures from Russia's leaders. These are greatly appreciated, he said.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was among the foreign leaders attending the funeral. Before leaving Krakow, he too said he hoped the tragedy might bring about a rapprochement.

Many other leaders had planned to attend the funeral, but were forced to cancel due to hazardous flying conditions above much of Europe, caused by a cloud of volcanic ash in the high atmosphere. U.S. President Barrack Obama was among those unable to attend.

After the funeral mass, the coffins of President Kaczynski and his wife were taken through the town and up the hill to Wawel Cathedral, where they were laid to rest. Crowds lined the streets, tossing flowers and waving Polish flags, the Cathedral's historic bell tolling a final farewell.

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