Sunday, February 14, 2010

Scotland's National Anthem

Here is a nice rendition of Scotland's National Anthem, Flower of Scotland, a surprisingly modern tune (written in 1967). In its short existence, it has become the true national anthem of Scotland - along with being a separatist tribute to Scottish independence. Here is a beautiful rendition in a football stadium before a match, and here is another example of the anthem being sung for the first time as the National Anthem in a French stadium before a rugby game against England (!) in 1990.

Scotland has been assertive of autonomy and independence for centuries. My own ancestors from Clan MacBean (sometimes spelled MacBain) in the Scottish highlands have been proponents of a free Scotland since the 14th century. They supported Scottish independence in 1715 and 1745 - and their defeat in those uprisings led many of them to settle in the American South - including Virginia, where all of my Bean/Beane ancestors ended up.

Clan MacBean was also a member of a confederacy called Clan Chattan (the Clan of Cats). Our motto was "touch not the cat without a glove" - which is a poetic and heraldic way of saying "don't mess with us."

While I was serving as a vicar in South Carolina, Mrs. H. and I had the joy to meet Lee and Sharon Honeycutt. Lee is of Scottish heritage, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and a former U.S. Marine. He would sometimes wear a kilt to church. Lee is a true Christian gentleman, but he is also a fellow not to mess with.

On one occasion, Lee gave us a tour of Columbia, including the many war memorials. One of them was a statue of a rather sad-looking American veteran of the Korean conflict, standing in the rain, looking defeated. Lee did not approve. He said that had this been a Scottish war memorial, it would have looked something like this: the Scot would be standing triumphantly in the pouring rain, head held high with a look of triumph on his face. He would be holding the severed head of his enemy aloft by the hair as he gave a cry of victory.

It was quite a remarkable and spell-binding monologue. I wish I had a recording of it. It was classic. Lee was the first person I ever heard use the word "Sassenach" - often accompanied by expectoration.

Anyway, here's to the Scots, the Highlanders, the Chattan Confederacy, the MacBeans, and home rule, freedom, independence, and courageous opposition everywhere to government that believes it is a master instead of a servant. People all over the world crave freedom, to be left alone in their "wee bit hill and glen." It is a universal aspiration of mankind to seek liberty against all forms of tyranny. Flower of Scotland is a tribute to freedom and the courage to bleed and die for it.

In my defens God me defend.

1 comment:

Ted Badje said...

I always liked 'Scotland the Brave' myself. My father's mother's people are from Scotland. I was astonished to see the beauty of the Firth of Forth when I went up to Helensborough to see my sister in the Navy. God's greenest land was a finger jutting into the sea. It is one sight I will never forget.