Germany’s military on Thursday (December 2) honoured outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel with their highest ceremony for a civilian, playing an eclectic mix of music of her own choosing that has intrigued the nation.
In the “Grosser Zapfenstreich” ceremony, pared back due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Bundeswehr staff music corps played a hymn, a 1960s song that includes the words “I can’t acquiesce, can’t make do, I still want to win”, and a 1970s punk rock hit.
The hymn, “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”, is a nod to Merkel’s Protestant upbringing, the ’60s song “Red roses are to rain for me” perhaps reflects her youthful ambition, while the rock hit, “You Forgot The Colour Film”, was first performed by East German punk artist Nina Hagen.
Born in the northern port city of Hamburg as the daughter of a Protestant pastor, Merkel grew up in Communist East Germany before taking the helm of a predominantly male, Catholic western German party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
After 16 years in office, she is due to be succeeded as chancellor by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz next week.
Merkel, 67, leaves big shoes to fill. She has navigated Germany and Europe through multiple crises and been a champion of liberal democracy in the face of rising authoritarianism worldwide.
Her critics say she has managed rather than solved problems and leaves her successor tough decisions on many fronts.