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At a Hometown Farewell, Schroeder Does It His Way

November 20, 2005|From Reuters

HANOVER, Germany — A military torchlight parade for Gerhard Schroeder in the chancellor's hometown on Saturday marked the start of ceremonies that will culminate with the inauguration of opposition leader Angela Merkel on Tuesday.

The event featured 135 soldiers carrying torches and an armed forces band playing melodies chosen by his wife, including Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife."

Greeted by applause that broke tradition at the start of the military spectacle, called a Grosser Zapfenstreich, or grand tattoo, Schroeder was beaming early in the ceremony. But when "My Way," the song made famous by Frank Sinatra, was played, his eyes welled up.

The chancellor did not speak at the 30-minute ceremony held in freezing temperatures in front of the city hall.

Schroeder, who will remain in Parliament as an ordinary deputy, wants to work again as a lawyer after three decades in politics.

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