He did it his way: army bids Schroeder farewell

21st November 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 November 2005, HANOVER, GERMANY - Tears gathered in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's eyes Saturday during a military farewell marking the end of his seven years as German leader, three days before his successor, Angela Merkel, is to be formally appointed.

21 November 2005

HANOVER, GERMANY - Tears gathered in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's eyes Saturday during a military farewell marking the end of his seven years as German leader, three days before his successor, Angela Merkel, is to be formally appointed.

Bandsmen and marching squads from the three branches of the German armed forces performed a military tattoo in the city-hall park of Hanover, the northern city where Schroeder has his home and where he was formerly state premier of Lower Saxony.

The tattoo, an elaborate massed night time ceremony, took on a personal touch when bandsmen played Schroeder favourites, chosen on a tip-off from the chancellor's wife, Doris Schroeder-Koepf.

Emotion got the better of the chancellor when the band played "My Way", the 1969 Frank Sinatra hit: Tears welled up in the glint of 135 flaming torches held by soldiers in the chill night air.

The ceremony was the military's departing honour to Schroeder as their ultimate authority. Because tattoos in Germany have regularly been disrupted by anti-military groups, the public was excluded.

An anti-army protest behind police lines about 500 metres away passed off peacefully, a Hanover police spokesman said.

Earlier Saturday, Schroeder gave his last speech as chancellor, telling a labour-run relief group that he expects Merkel's grand coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats to stay with the foreign and social policies of the past.

"I see a lot of continuity in many areas," he said. Lawmakers are formally to elect Merkel into office Tuesday.

DPA

Subject: German news

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