The Dresden Trust’s Chairman, Eveline Eaton, was invited to the official celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Day of German Unity, celebrated in Dresden for the second time. Security was tight for the event with 2600 police officers on duty, as two bombs had exploded in Dresden the previous week. Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck were jeered by the crowds on their arrival at the Frauenkirche, later they were joined by leading ministers from the government and dignitaries from worldwide. Inside the church, the atmosphere outside was replaced by a moving and musical ecumenical service. Living testimonies were presented by witnesses of the Fall of the Wall in 1989 and by young students from a Dresden Gymnasium.
For security reasons, guests were then transported by bus to the next venue the Semper Opera. “Building Bridges” was the theme of the celebrations, beginning with the Staatskapelle under Christian Thielemann performing Beethoven’s Overture for “Fidelio”, the opera which had been performed there shortly before the wall fell in 1989. The audience was welcomed by the President of the Upper House and Minister-President of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich. The German actor Philipp Lux recited the famous ring-parable from “Nathan the Wise” by Lessing with its major themes of friendship and tolerance. Various performances of modern dance brought yet another dimension to the event. The young members of the Kreuzchor sang part of a Mass by Bach from the stage as well as from various tiers of the Opera House. Films about Germany today stressed the interracial nature of the country. The key-note speech was delivered by the President of the German Lower House, Dr. Norbert Lammert who quoted a recent survey which described Germany as “the best country on this earth” and he finished by encouraging the Germans to have a “little more self-confidence”. His themes were finally echoed by the Kreuzchor singing the German National Anthem by Haydn (1797) with von Fallersleben’s words (1841) of “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit”: “Unity and Justice and Freedom”.
The festivities finished in the nearby Congress Centre with refreshments for the participants of the 26th Day of German Unity .