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They Will Never Take… Our Tartan Day!

When the United States made its legendary clean break from English rule in 1776, the founding fathers drew heavy influence from the Scots some 400 years earlier. The Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320 and provided the blueprint for drafting a document that let the English know a new nation was not about to put up with their tyranny.

It makes perfect sense that the signers of the American Declaration modeled their language after what was written in the Scottish version – nearly half of them were of Scottish descent. The governments of the original thirteen colonies were also disproportionately headed by Scots, and the trend hasn’t reversed since. It’s estimated that 33 of America’s presidents can trace their ancestry back to Mother Scotland.

Perhaps no single line from the Declaration of Arbroath better encapsulates the burning desire for freedom that exists within every Scot – and American – than this one:

“We fight not for glory, nor riches nor honors, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.”

And so, with their freedoms hard-earned, Americans began to pay homage to their Scottish bloodline, recognizing its indelible impact on leadership, the arts, innovation and culture.

National Tartan Day was started in the late-1980 as a grassroots observation of Scottish honor. Cities and communities held marches, gatherings and public parties every April 6th to commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, all the while lobbying government to recognize Tartan Day on a national scale. Finally, in 1998, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution establishing April 6th as the official day of recognition of Scottish American achievement.

So this April, don your colors, toast to your ancestors and celebrate with your fellow Scots. For all we’ve done for America, and all we’ve done in the name of freedom, Tartan Day is for us.