“The last two years of this pandemic have shown how important the trust in politics, science and societal discourse is but also how fragile it can be. Democracy depends on solidarity and trust, including the trust in facts,” she said.
The ceremony, broadcast live on television and hosted by the defense minister, lasted about an hour, rich in military choreography and ritual.
Known as the Grosser Zapfenstreich, or Grand Tattoo, it dates to the 16th century and is the highest honor the military can bestow on civilians. It has been performed as the official farewell to departing chancellors since German reunification.
The event began with a Beethoven military march and ended with Ich bete an die Macht Liebe (I pray to the power of love), a traditional song that has been part of the ceremony since the Napoleonic wars. During this piece the soldiers removed their grey helmets and Merkel briefly smiled at the officer leading the band as the final bars faded.
The military band played three songs chosen by Merkel:
“Now it is up to the next government to find answers to the challenges that lie ahead and shape our future,” Merkel concluded. “For that I wish you, dear Olaf Scholz and the government you will lead, all the best and a lucky hand and much success.”