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668 Years Ago Today--April 6th is National Tartan Day!

Poster: EoganOg@aol.com

April 6th, 1320, was one of the turning points in Scotland's struggle for 
recognized independance from the kingdom of England, and therefore a date of 
signifigance for all Scots, everywhere.  The US Senate has seen fit to 
recognise this date and its importance to Americans of Scottish descent by 
declaring April 6th "Tartan Day."  It marks the anniversary of the signing of 
the Declaration of Arbroath, a document that served as a inspiration to our 
own American Declaration of Independance.  Yet few have heard of Arbroath, 
and fewer still know of the importance of this declaration.

The Declaration of Arbroath was signed by 100 Scottish Barons and sent to the 
Pope, John XXII, who had just replaced Pope Clement V.  Clement had taken a  
very strong pro-English stand during the Scottish Wars for Independance and 
had excommunicated the Bruce and the whole realm of Scotland.  This letter 
was a strong statement urging the new Pope not to follow in suit, to lift the 
excommunication, and urge England to stop her aggressions and make peace.  At 
this time, King Robert had been trying for some time to gain recognition of 
his title and Independance from both the Pope and the English king, whe 
simply would not accept defeat.

The entire text of the letter detials the history of Scotland, restates in a 
strong way its claim for independance, and relates all the hardships endured 
under English tyranny.  In the end, it finishes:

"Our nation lived in freedom and peace until the mighty Prince Edward, King 
of England, the father of the preset king, aggressively attacked our kingdom, 
while it was without a head, and our people, who were both guiltless of any 
wrongdoing or perfidy and at that time unaccustomed to wars or invasions.  No 
one who did not know them fromexperience could describe or fully appreciate 
all his outrages, massacres, violence, plunder and burning. . . sparing 
neither age, nor sex, religion or order. . .  But we have been liberated from 
these countless evils by our valiant Prince and Sovereign Lord Robert. . .  
To him as the author of our people's deliverance we are bound. . . and are 
determined to be loyal to him in everything.  But if he were to abandon our 
cause by being ready to make us or our kingdom subject to the king of England 
or the English we should at oncedo our utmost to expel him as our enemy. . . 
and should choose some other man to be our king, who would be ready to defend 
us.  For so long as a hundred of us remain alive we are resolved never to 
submit to the domination of the English. It is not for glory, wealth or 
honour that we are fighting, but for freedom, and freedom only, which no true 
man ever surrenders except with his life. . .
. . .  Given at the monastary of Arbroath in Scotland on the sixth day of the 
month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the 
fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid."

The full text of this Declaration of Arbroath can be found in:
Donaldson, Gordon, ed.,  Scottish Historical Documents.  Scottish Academic   
Press,  Ltd, 1970; reprint ed., Glasgow:  Neil Wilson Publishing Ltd., 1997. 
This book is available through the Scottish Tartans Museum gift shop.

Today marks the 668th anniversary of the signing of this document, one of the 
final steps towards Scottish independance.  Scotland remains to this day the 
only nation within the United Kingdom not to have been taken by force of 
arms, and has played a large role not only in shaping British history, but 
American history as well.  To honor this day, the US Senate has declared that 
April 6th of each year be recognized as "Tartan Day."  Please take this day 
to partake in some Scottish activity.  Listen to the pipes.  Dance a Scottish 
dance.  Sip some whiskey.  Sing a ballad.  If you have a tartan, by all means 
wear it, publicly, and share your proud heritage with others.  But take time 
to reflect on Scotland's heritage and the signifigance of this day.


Eogan Albanach.  "A! Fredome is a noble thing. . ."
Tighearn Eoghan Og Mac Labhrainn, CP 
Sangster of Scotland and Atlantia
Chronicler of the Militant Society of Bards
Checky Or & Vert, two lions combattant, tails knowed, in base a 
mouse couchant, all within an orle of roundels, Argent.
"A! Fredome is a noble thing. . ."  --John Barbour in The Bruce, 1375
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