Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day

Declaration of Arbroath
NAS: State Papers: SP13/7
(C) Property of the National Archives of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY. The information contained on this WWW site is Crown Copyright but may be reproduced without formal permission or charge for personal or in-house use.

An interesting thought has occurred to me as I am working on the materials for the Battle of Barra blog. Here in the US we are preparing for the Memorial Day weekend which commemorates the men and women who have died in the service of the US.
At the same time in Oldmeldrum a memorial was being unveiled to commemorate the events of seven hundred years ago.

Following the victory at Barra the Scottish cause moved from strength to strength, and resulted in the production of one of the great historical documents, the Declaration of Arbroath.
Whether this document was simply “Bruce” propaganda or a real reflection of the thinking of the ruling class of Scotland of the day is open to debate, but its words have rung across the centuries, influencing Scottish and world thinking.
One phrase is especially evocative:

“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Four hundred years later descendants of these authors carried this concept to the new world, and many people see the influence of the Arbroath document in the American Declaration of Independence.
So; maybe as Americans observe Memorial day they can spare a thought for the unknown Scottish soldiers who’s sacrifice may have contributed to the founding ideals of their country.

1 comment:

Aniela said...

The poem is exquisite. Thanks for posting a translation. I was practicing me Scottish and having a dandy time. Seriously, this blog belongs in a book! You are brilliant of mind, dear brother.