Proclamation by the
President: National Tartan Day, 2008
Americans of Scottish
descent have made enduring contributions to our Nation with their hard
work, faith, and values. On National Tartan Day, we celebrate the spirit
and character of Scottish Americans and recognize their many
contributions to our culture and our way of life.
Scotland and the United States have long shared ties of family and
friendship, and many of our country's most cherished customs and ideals
first grew to maturity on Scotland's soil. The Declaration of Arbroath,
the Scottish Declaration of Independence signed in 1320, embodied the
Scots' strong dedication to liberty, and the Scots brought that
tradition of freedom with them to the New World. Sons and daughters of
many Scottish clans were among the first immigrants to settle in
America, and their determination and optimism helped build our Nation's
character. Several of our Founding Fathers were of Scottish descent, as
have been many Presidents and Justices of the United States Supreme
Court. Many Scottish Americans, such as Andrew Carnegie, were great
philanthropists, founding and supporting numerous scientific,
educational, and civic institutions. From the evocative sounds of the
bagpipes to the great sport of golf, the Scots have also left an
indelible mark on American culture.
National Tartan Day is an opportunity to celebrate all Americans who
claim Scottish ancestry, and we are especially grateful for the service
in our Armed Forces of Scottish Americans who have answered the call to
protect our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 6, 2008, as National
Tartan Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day by celebrating
the continued friendship between the people of Scotland and the United
States and by recognizing the contributions of Scottish Americans to our
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of
April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and
GEORGE W. BUSH
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES November 10,
1997 Mr. Lott submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on
RESOLUTION Designating April 6 of each year as ``National
Tartan Day'' to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish
Americans to the United States.
Whereas April 6 has a special significance for all Americans,
and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of
Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was
modeled on that inspirational document;
Whereas this resolution honors the major role that Scottish
Americans played in the founding of this Nation, such as the fact that almost half of the
signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the Governors in 9 of
the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry, Scottish Americans successfully helped
shape this country in its formative years and guided this Nation through its most troubled
Whereas this resolution recognizes the monumental
achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans that have led to
America's preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government,
politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts;
Whereas this resolution commends the more than 200
organizations throughout the United States that honor Scottish heritage, tradition, and
culture, representing the hundreds of thousands of Americans of Scottish descent, residing
in every State, who already have made the observance of Tartan Day on April 6 a success;
Whereas these numerous individuals, clans, societies, clubs,
and fraternal organizations do not let the great contributions of the Scottish people go
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate designates
April 6 of each year as ``National Tartan Day''.
What is it, how do we interpret it and does it matter?
There are many forms of history, ancient, modern, medieval, romantic, written by the
victor, written by the vanquished, written by one religious order, written by a second or
third religious order, translated from one language to another. Evolving, oral, and
Anything that happened yesterday or last week or anytime in the past is history and today
and next week we will have made history by the time next month comes around therefore it
is important that when we assess history we endeavor
to collect all the facts and not try
to rewrite history with a flavour other than the TRUTH.
Then I suppose it comes down to a matter of the individuals interpretation of the truth.
One of the most common problem areas in Scottish History is what has become to be
known as the shortbread biscuit tin version of Scottish History. Authors such
as Sir Walter Scott, and other romantic novelists have tended to create a version of
history which is most PLEASING to the reader. Nigel Tranter endeavors
to paint a
picture in the minds eye of what was taking place at the time and again this is
colored by his view and interpretation of history much of which at that time was not written and
if it was it was written in either ancient Latin or old Scots.
A considerable amount of Scotland's written history was taken away from official archives
during the various visits made by conquering armies from the South. However,
declarations, laws, treaties etc., have survived and it is without doubt that all of these
FACTS of history be acknowledged and celebrated in whatever way one thinks is appropriate.
I wear my kilt on every occasion possible and that may be because of my Scottish heritage
in that having spent so much in its purchase I cannot see any reason why it should hang in
the wardrobe unworn. This brings me to the celebration of Tartan Day.
There are two dates currently used to celebrate Tartan Day - 6th April in North
America and July 1st in Australia, New Zealand and other countries.
The significance of the 6th April 1320 relates to the Declaration of Arbroath when 6 years
after Bannockburn 100 men gathered at Arbroath to write a Declaration of their loyalty to
Scotland and forward this to the Pope in Italy to have him support their case for
Independence. Some 8 years later 1328 the Treaty of Northampton was signed by
Edward III of England acknowledging that Scotland was an Independent Nation and that Bruce
was the Independent King of Scotland. Bruce died a year later.
The significance of the 1st July is the fact that on the 1st July 1782 an Act was passed
called the Repeal Proclamation. This Act repealed the Act
of Proscription 1747 which made it an offence to wear tartan amongst other things.
Many believe the significance of this anniversary acknowledges this Act
as having far greater relevance to Tartan and therefore the International promotion of a
Tartan Day of recognition and celebration.
By celebrating Tartan Day on the 1st July we can also acknowledge the restoration of the
Scottish Parliament which took place on the 1st July 1999.
Australia has just gone through a process of a referendum to ascertain if we were to
become a Republic. Had this Referendum been successful would we now call the day of
the Referendum Australia Day, the day we became an Independent Nation Australia Day, the
day we became a Federation in 1901 or the day we currently call Australia Day.
January 26th when the First Fleet landed (Not a day the Aboriginal people of Australia are
inclined to celebrate)???
When deciding on a day for Celebration the most appropriate day should be chosen for the
most relevant reason.
The same principle applies when looking at Coats of Arms, designs of tartan, Clan history
etc. We must be careful not to tinker with the traditional significance of the past for
the sake of modern life styles or personal preference. Never mind possible breaches of the
Tartan Day in Canada
Here are some facts about Tartan Day from
the recent newsletter of the Clan
Ross Association of Canada, Inc., courtesy of our ever-vigilant
secretary Ian Mackay Ross.
There are more people of Scots descent throughout the world than you'll
find in Scotland itself. Tartan Day was established for people of Scottish
heritage in the "New World" to show pride in their background
and respect for their pioneer ancestors who were instrumental in
developing the countries in which they now live. The Scottish value of
hard work and education resulted in their prominence in the fields of
business, education, government, the military and the professions.
Tartan Day originated in Nova Scotia, Canada, with a proposal from the
Federation of Scottish Clans. On December 19th 1991, in response to action
initiated by the Clans & Scottish Societies of Canada, the Ontario
Legislature passed a resolution proclaiming April 6th as Tartan Day.
Manitoba was the third Canadian Province to recognize this day in 1994
with Bill 2061 (although April 6th had been proclaimed Tartan Day on a year
by year basis for several years prior to this). The day is now officially
recognized by all Provinces except Newfoundland and Quebec.
1. Private Member's Bill 206 - The Coat of Arms, Emblems
and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act was sponsored by Mr. McAlpine, given
first reading on June 7, 1994, given second reading on June 23, 1994,
reported without amendments from the Standing Committee on Private Bills
on June 29, concurred in on July 4, 1994, received third reading on July 5
and received royal assent on July 5. The Bill came into force on royal
assent, July 5, 1994.
Bill 206 was sponsored by Mr. Gerry
McAlpine (who happened to by Progressive Conservative ... but more
importantly a strong Scottish connection). I used to be in the Kinsmen
Club with Gerry years ago. Gerry is a member of the local St. Andrew's
Society, and was prevailed upon by one of our Clan Ross members, Eldon
Ross of Winnipeg (and a long-time PC supporter) to sponsor the Bill. A lot
the groundwork was done by Georgie Balneaves of the (now defunct) Manitoba
Coalition of Scottish Clans.
The exact wording of Bill 206 ... which was an amendment to "The Coat
of Arms, Emblems and The Manitoba Tartan Act" is:
Whereas the Selkirk Settlers settled in Manitoba in the early 1800's and
the Scots played a significant role in the establishment of Manitoba;
And whereas Scottish Manitobans continue to make outstanding contributions
to Manitoba's social, economic and political life;
And whereas April 6th has been chosen as "Tartan Day" in Canada
to recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of Scots in Canada;
And whereas Manitoba's own tartan was approved in 1962 and registered in
Scotland as the official tartan of Manitoba;
And whereas Manitoba encourages its citizens to celebrate the achievements
of their cultural heritage;
Therefore Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:
(The following is added after section 6 of The Coat of Arms, Emblems and
the Manitoba Tartan Act::)
Manitoba Tartan Day
6.1 In recognition of the role that Scottish
Manitobans have played and continue to play in Manitoba's cultural
heritage, April 6 in each year is declared to be "Manitoba Tartan
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