Former German Chancellor Kohl Receives Military Honours At Funeral

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Drawing on his friendships with several world leaders, Kohl assured the Allied nations that had beaten Nazi Germany in World War II that his country no longer aspired to dominate others.

Walter Kohl has described the European Parliament commemoration as "unworthy" in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit.

Among the many dignitaries present at the memorial was former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who thanked Kohl for giving us the chance to be involved in something bigger than ourselves.

"A giant of the post-war period has left us", Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission and the only current leader in Europe to have worked alongside Kohl, told the service at the European Parliament.

The resting place of many rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, itself a Europe-spanning polity, Speyer Cathedral was seen by Kohl as a symbol of European unity, a place he showed to contemporary leaders including Gorbachev and Britain's Margaret Thatcher.

After Europe's farewell comes Germany's.

He also complained about the choice to bury his father in a cemetery in Spire in southwest Germany and not the family tomb in the town of Ludwigshafen, where Kohl died on June 16 aged 87.

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Three wreaths were placed in front of the casket - one in the colours of the Federal Republic of Germany, another in the name of the European Union, and the third in the name of Mr Kohl's wife Maike Kohl-Richter.

Those decisions were made by Kohl-Richter, 34 years her husband's junior, whom he married at age 78.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl sits next to Christian Democrat party (CDU) leader Angela Merkel during celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of German unification in Berlin on September 27, 2000.

It is the first time that the European Parliament has paid tribute to a leader in such a way.

Kohl's body will then be taken to the Spire cemetery and his son says he will not take part in the burial.

Kohl is widely regarded as having skillfully overcome the fears of Germany's neighbours when an end to the country's decades-long division into a communist east and a democratic west first became a realistic possibility in the late 1980s.

Following the ceremony in Strasbourg, which was attended by over 800 guests, Kohl's coffin was to be taken to the German city of Speyer for a requiem Mass and military honour.