January 27, 2022

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Watch live: Farewell honors for Angela Merkel – live coverage from the ceremony in Berlin

2 min read

Angela Merkel is finally bidding farewell to the office of German chancellor after 16 years in the top job. Although she will remain in office on an interim basis until the next chancellor is confirmed, Thursday evening will see her attend a military tattoo in her honour.

The so-called "Großer Zapfenstreich" is the highest military ceremony in Germany and comes complete with a torchlight procession, soldiers performing music and marching with clockwork precision. Like her predecessors, Merkel has been allowed to request three songs for the military marching band to play. Two are unlikely to raise eyebrows: The 18th-century Christian hymn "Großer Gott, wir loben dich" ("Holy God, We Praise Thy Name") — likely a nod to her political party’s Christian roots and her upbringing with a Protestant pastor for a father; the other is the popular song by German singer Hildegard Knef "Für mich, soll’s rote Rosen regnen" ("It should rain red roses for me"). It’s a wistful tune about teenage dreams and ambition, with lyrics such as "I want all or nothing." Yet one song chosen by the chancellor may come as a surprise to many — the 1974 East German hit sung by punk rocker Nina Hagen, "Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen" ("You forgot the color film"). An iconoclastic pop star back in the German Democratic Republic, Nina Hagen became the punk icon of West Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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