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This is a Real Audio Production for Tartan Day 2003

(Click the links below to listen to our tribute)

Introduction by Peter Wright, Chairman of the Scots Independent Newspaper

Peter and Marilyn Wright
Peter and Marilyn Wright

Once again it is a pleasure to welcome our American and Canadian cousins to the Scots Independent Tribute to Tartan Day. The 2003 Tartan Day celebrations will be held under the shadow of the ongoing war in Iraq and our thoughts are very much with the troops and their families. We all share the hope the war will soon be successfully concluded, with a minimum of casualties, and that Iraq will be free from a cruel dictator and his evil regime and in a position to develop as a free, democratic country in the world community of Nations.

Thoughts of freedom are to the fore on Tartan Day as the date chosen for its celebration in America and Canada is 6 April - the date in 1320 on which the Scottish nobles appended their seals to the Declaration of Arbroath affirming the Independence of Scotland from English domination. The letter from Arbroath, written by Bernard de Linton, to Pope John XXII, calling on him to recognise Scottish Freedom, marked the emergence of Scotland as the first Nation State in Europe in the modern sense. Several centuries later the sentiments of the Declaration made at Arbroath were echoed in the American Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Arbroath Abbey, where the nobles gathered in support of the letter to the Pope, should be a National Shrine as the home of Scottish Freedom. Arbroath Abbey Pageant Society are to be congratulated on marking the event every year, and as funds allow, presenting every few years a Pageant bringing alive the full panoply of the historic 1320 happening. I will be marking this year's Tartan Day and the Declaration of Arbroath by attending the open-air staging by the Arbroath Abbey Pageant Society of a one-act-play featuring Robert I (The Bruce), Bernard de Linton and other principal participants from 1320, which will be enacted at the Abbey Gate (beside Visitors Centre) at 1pm on Sunday 6 April 2003.

In these trying days for the world, both with the ongoing war and the ever-present threat of international terrorism, it is important to hold true to the eternal verities, chiefly that of Freedom. 'Fredome' as the Scottish Medieval poet John Barbour of Aberdeen wrote ' is ane nobil thing' and celebration of Tartan Day on 6 April acts as a reminder of this truth.

Ti ane an aw - hae a braw Tartan Day.

Read by Marilyn Wright

                                                    A! Fredome is ane nobil thing!
                                                    Fredome makis man to have liking,
                                                    Fredome all solace to man givis:
                                                    He lives at ease that frely livis!
                                                    A nobil hart may have nane ease,
                                                    Na ellis nocht that may him please,
                                                    Gif fredome failye; for fre liking
                                                    Is yarnit owre all other thing.

frae 'The Brus' - John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen (c1320-1395)

Celebrating the Pipes
Duchess of Edinburgh, Lonach Gathering

(by Gordon Duncan)

A New Scotsland
by William Wolfe
Read by Marilyn Wright

                                                Let ilka Scot say efter me
                                                Kirkyairdilik an thochtilie
                                                "Auncient Speirit o Scotland
                                                Whase anerly airms are oor airms
                                                Whase anerly speak is oor speak
                                                Whase anerly life is oor life,
                                                Athoot us kenlin up wir bluid
                                                In the name o aa at's guid
                                                Ye'd be nae mair nor auld deid wuid.
                                                "Sae let's tak tent
                                                Whae seek your pairt
                                                Wi rigbane bent
                                                An stoundin hairt
                                                We'll dae wir stent
                                                An no be feart.
                                                We'll bring a new Scotsland tae birth
                                                An haud wir tryst wi Mither Yirth."
                                                Sae shall it be !

The Blood is Strong

One of the best modern songs written about the Scottish dispora is 'Born Beyond The Border'. The song expresses the feelings of many of those of Scottish descent spread across the globe. We are grateful to both the composer of the song, Maggie Innes , and the tune, Gordon Menzies, to publish the words as part of the SI 2003 Tartan Day Tribute - you can also hear the song sung by top Scottish folk duo Gaberlunzie which features Gordon Menzies and Robin Watson. The song is available on the Gaberlunzie CD 'Twa Corbies'. For over 30 years Gaberlunzie have been regular visitors over the pond.

Born Beyond The Border
Maggie Innes/Gordon Menzies
Sang by Gaberlunzie

                                Some set sail for Africa with bibles in their hands 
                                Some were forced to the colonies to build a new Heartland
                                Even those on the work of the Lord could scarce forbear to weep
                                But the bitterest tears were shed by those who made way for the sheep.
                                Chorus :
                                Though we're born beyond the border don't say we don't belong
                                We've a legacy of Bruce and Wallace too
                                We're the children of the Clearances the wanderers old and young
                                And the heart and soul are Scotland just like you.
                                The names, the songs, the stories and the measure of their loss
                                Formed lullabies for children born beneath the Southern Cross
                                All across the mighty Rockies to the wide Pacific shore
                                The names of home, old towns reborn, spring into life once more.
                                 So when you sing of the Great White Sheep this you must also know
                                 While Scotland mourns her tragedy it was us had to go
                                 In exile now far away from the land of our Race's birth
                                 We're the living flag of Andrew scattered all across the Earth.   

A Scot in America
by Alastair McIntyre

During February 2003, I had the good fortune to spend two weeks in the USA courtesy of the Odom Library in Moultrie, Georgia and The Family Tree (Really by Braveheart Scottish Weekend 2003) and thought it might be of interest to tell you about it.

I arrived on 12th February at Tallahassee Airport where Beth Gay had arranged to meet me and take me to where I would be staying in Moultrie. With Beth was her husband Mel and Woody Bowers, their good friend, who was going to put me up for the duration. Also with Beth were Billy and Dawn Henderson from Mississippi, who were there for the Braveheart Scottish Weekend 2003, who had volunteered to use their big van to pick me up. They immediately made me feel right at home and this was to be the theme of my whole stay in America... friendly folk who went out of their way to make this local Scot feel at home!

Alastair, Beth Gay, Beth's Cousin and Sir William Wallace
Alastair, Beth Gay, Beth's Cousin and Sir William Wallace

I was of course there to attend the weekend in Moultrie where some 400 or so Scots-Americans turned up to celebrate the event. The event is of course all the work of Beth Gay and her army of volunteers. The Odom Library hosts many events throughout the weekend.

The Odom Library does in fact hold the archives of some 125 Scottish Clan Societies in America so there were lots of Clans represented. There were special talks given on a whole range of topics and all were well attended.

Raymond Campbell Paterson was the Honoured Guest of the event, being the author of many Scottish history books, and as a fellow Scots we had a grand chat and we both agreed the hospitality was outstanding.

To start the weekend off we attended a lunch given by Anne and Monty Carlton who have graciously hosted a lunch at all the Scottish Weekend events down the years. It was an excellent lunch and I for one very much appreciated the good food that was served up. Woody, my host for my stay, drove me around ensuring I got to all the events in time.

I met Melody Jenkins who is in charge of the Odom Library and she was most welcoming and kindly listened to all my wee stories and gave generously of her time. Of course I also met Miranda Mabry who helps out Beth along with many of Beth's helpers such as Harriet Carlton and also her special trustee prisoner who was helping with the event.

I should at this time tell you an amusing story. I was going out the back door to get something from Beth's car but couldn't open the door. I then went back to Beth to say I couldn't get the door open and she said just to press a wee button at the side and the door would then open. Going back I confess I couldn't find that wee button so was heading back to confess my failure when I met the prisoner. I said to him "Any idea how to open that door as I can't get out" and he kindly showed me how to open the door. It wasn't until later that I realized the irony of asking a prisoner how to get out!

The food was outstanding at the event as we had big dinners on both Friday and Saturday nights and you could eat as much as you wanted. There was great entertainment from Smithfield Fair, Carl Peterson, Colin Grant-Adams, Rixey & McMillan and Bobby Murray. Lots of banter, wee stories and lots of laughs... just like a good ceilidh ought to be with many individuals taking the microphone to give their contributions. Everyone was having a great time.

Mind you they sure caught me out at the Braveheart Scottish Weekend 2003 as I was to give a half hour talk and when I got up to give it I was asked to just give 20 seconds... I was a little puzzled about this but did as they asked. Then Jim MacIntyre made an appearance to present me with an honourary membership of the Clan MacIntyre Association... I was kinda dumfounded as it was a complete surprise but most appreciated and I probably stammered out my thanks. Then Beth came up to say how much she appreciated the work I was doing for The Family Tree and then presented me with a Superman T-Shirt!

I'm not sure if you are aware of it or not but Scots on the whole have a hard time at taking compliments, although we do appreciate them, so I guess I did more stammering and probably went bright red as well!
Anyway... all was much appreciated by me for sure and thanks to them both for their "surprise". I then went on to give my half hour talk and when finished I was heading off to get a wee smoke when I got tapped on the shoulder. "You have to give another half hour talk Alastair". Err.. I said... are you sure about that... I thought I was just to do one half hour? Be back in 10 minutes I was told [gulp]. So that was my other surprise and it was just as well I had a store of stories I could tell. Anyway, I think they all enjoyed it and I certainly enjoyed meeting such a lot of friendly folk.

After the Braveheart Scottish Weekend 2003 I spent lots of time with Beth and Miranda in the library and helped where I could. I was introduced to the great fried chicken from the restaurant over the road from the library where the staff were most kind in ensuring I got to taste everything. They even got me wee samples of food so I could say I'd tried them and on my last morning there they organized a breakfast cup of their special grits - which I must say were excellent. Thanks to them all for making me feel at home.

Beth, Mel and Woody then ensured I got to visit as many other restaurants as I could and we went all over the place. I have particular memories of the Farmers Market where you could eat as much as you liked for only $8.80. The food was great and there was a one man act there that sang any song you asked for. I had a great time.

We also went down to the Gulf of Mexico and Woody took the special scenic route so I could get a better appreciation of the country and it was outstanding. Hadn't realized there were so many trees. We ended up at a special seafood restaurant which was excellent. One other outstanding evening was spent at The Cracker Barrel in Tifton, Georgia, where after an excellent meal we sat on the rocking chairs outside and chatted for ages saying "hello" to folks as they went past. It was certainly a night to remember.

During my stay I was also the special guest at the Jacksonville Highland Games. I was staying with Neill Baker and his wife Francine. Beth dropped me off at their house where I was staying for the next couple of nights. They saw to it I got to the Highland Games and they looked after me with great hospitality. I attended their special Sponsor's night on the Friday along with Beth and met lots of great people while I was there.

I also got the opportunity to meet a few of Beth's friends on the way down to that event. She took me to a cousin, Watkins Saunders, who had just renovated a beautiful home on the banks of the Suwannee River at White Springs. Afterwards we had lunch with her friends, Barbara and Jerry Williams, in their beautiful home in Middleburg, Florida - on another river. I was getting to see a goodly portion of the country for sure.

 LtoR: Beth Gay, Aunt Mildred (95) and Miss Peggie (88)
LtoR: Beth Gay, Aunt Mildred (95) and Miss Peggie (88)

While in Jacksonville I also got to meet two venerable ladies who are very special people in Beth's life, one in her late 80s (Miz Peggie) and another in her late 90s (Aunt Mildred) and both were most hospitable and fun people. Beth decided to have a run on the beach so I kindly went with her and while she ran I sat enjoying the beach albeit there was a heavy fog. In fact it was so heavy that I figured I'd better stand right up to the sea so that Beth would know she'd returned to the right spot. Eagle-eyed Beth found a huge Megladon shark's tooth, millions of years old, which she gave me as a memento of my day on the beach :-)

The Jacksonville Games went off very well... it was lovely and sunny albeit with a high wind and only in the last hour did the threatened rain make an appearance. A great time was had by all but I have to say I was exhausted. Beth is the fittest person I've ever met... she tows a wee buggy around with her giving out copies of The Family Tree newspaper to all the clan tents and vendor tents as well as any one else she speaks to. I have to say she must have ribs of steel as she is so well known at these events she gets loads of hugs. About three quarters of the way around I confess to giving up and sought out a wee seat but she marched on! I'm full of admiration for the work Beth does.

Jacksonville Highland Games
Jacksonville Highland Games

As a local Scot I was amazed at the sheer passion there is for things Scottish in America and how proud our Scots descendants are of their Scottish roots. Their enthusiasm rather puts to shame us local Scots as we don't seem to know how to promote Scotland very well in America but they certainly do.

Neill, the past president of the Jacksonville Highland Games, couldn't understand why people like VisitScotland didn't take part in these events. As he said to me... "Around a quarter of the people at these Highland Games are 'professional Scots' in that they will probably have already visited Scotland or bought Scottish products and with a little encouragement would likely visit Scotland again or more often and would be interested in buying more Scottish products."

When I returned to Moultrie for my final day and night I got the opportunity to meet with Mayor William McLeod McIntosh of Moultrie (what a grand Scottish name) and he kindly gave an hour of his time to chat about the town and area. I also got to meet Daryll Moore, President of the Economic Development Corporation, as well as a number of other important citizens. They all gave generously of their time and made me feel most welcome. I also got interviewed by The Moultrie Observer and an article came out in the Monday issue just before I left. I received a personal showing of some outstanding art collections at The Arts Center in the town and was amazed at the importance of some of their collections.

Outside the Odom Library there is a wee bench where one can sit and as a smoker I confess to adopting that bench as I would pop out for a wee smoke. It became a meeting place where lots of folks stopped for a blether and I learned lots more about the town and area. You really couldn't find a friendlier bunch of folk anywhere.

There was just so much I got to see and experience that it would take me a book to tell you all about it. I don't think I've ever eaten so much... had so many laughs... had so much fun. My overall impression was of a great people, friendly and welcoming, and willing to put themselves out to ensure a wee Scottish chap had a great time in their country.

The Scots are alive and well and living in America! A massive thanks to everyone I met and I can't wait to go back!

Taken outside La Fogata restaurant in Moultrie.
Taken outside La Fogata restaurant in Moultrie, one of the many I visited!
Front row, Beth, Alastair, Harriet. Back row: Bob Ragan, Mel Gay

Celebrating the Pipes
Loch Broom Bay

(by Gordon Duncan)

Freedom Come All Ye
by Hamish Henderson
Read by Marilyn Wright

Rauch the wind in the clear day's dawnin',
Blaws the cloods heelster gowdie o'er the bay,
But there's mair than a rauch wind blawin'
Through the great glen o' the warl' today,
It's a thocht that wad gar oor rottens,
A' they rogues that gang gallus fresh and gay,
Tak the road and seek ither loanins,
For their ill ploys tae sport and play.

Nae mair will oor bonnie gallants
Gang tae war when the braggarts croosely craw.
Nor wee weans frae pitheid or clachan,
Mourn the ships sailin' frae the Broomielaw.
Broken families in lands we've harried,
Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair.
Black and white each till ither married,
Mak the vile barracks o' their masters bare.

Sae come all ye at hame wi' freedom.
Never heed whit the hoodies croak for doom.
In yer hoose a' the balms o' Adam
Can find breed, barley bree and painted room
When McLean meets wi' his freen's in Springburn
A'  the roses and geans will turn tae bloom,
And the black boys beyont Nyanga
Ding the fell gallows of the burghers doon.
(Repeat the first four lines of the first verse)

Auld Lang Syne
By Robert Burns
Sung by Gill Bowman

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stoup,
And surely I'll be mine;
And we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, etc.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.
For auld, etc.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd.
Sin' auld lang syne.
For auld, etc.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak' a right gud-wellie waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, etc.

"Scots Wha Hae"
By Robert Burns
Sung by Gaberlunzie

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led
Welcome to your gory bed
Or to victory!
Now's the day an' now's the hour
See the front of battle lour
See approach proud Edward's pow'r
Chains and slavery!

Wha would be a traitor knave?
Wha would fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!
Wha for Scotland's king an' law
Freedom's sword would strongly draw
Freeman stand and freeman fa'
Let him on wi' me!

By oppression's woes and pains
By your sons in servile chains
We will drain our dearest veins
But they shall be free.
Lay the proud userpers low!
Tyrants fall in ev'ry foe
Liberty's in every blow
Let us do or dee!


If you'd like to monitor Scotland's continued fight for Independence visit the
Flag in the Wind each Friday for up to date analysis and comment.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Greentrax and Gordon Duncan for the pipe music and Gaberlunzie and Gill Bowman for the songs. See Arbroath Abbey Pagent web site.

Postscript to Tartan Day
Arbroath Abbey Pageant Society

Postscript to 2003 Tartan Day.  Photographs of commemorative signing of The Declaration of Arbroath by the Arbroath Abbey Pageant Society on Sunday 6th April 2003.  A large crowd enjoyed the spectacular presentation at Arbroath Abbey's West Gate which was relayed, by television, to America.  Combining enjoyment of Tartan Day/ Declaration of Arbroath were visitors Harry and Diane McAlister from Seattle (last pictures).



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