Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
November 10, 1997
105th Congress, 1st Session
Issue: Vol. 143, No. 158 — Daily Edition
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SENATE RESOLUTION 155--DESIGNATING ``NATIONAL TARTAN DAY''
(Senate - November 10, 1997)
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[Pages S12478-S12479] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] SENATE RESOLUTION 155--DESIGNATING ``NATIONAL TARTAN DAY'' Mr. LOTT submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary: S. Res. 155 Whereas April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document; Whereas this resolution honors the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this Nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the Governors in 9 of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry, and Scottish Americans successfully helped shape this country in its formative years and guide this Nation through its most troubled times; Whereas this resolution recognizes the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans that have led to America's preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts; Whereas this resolution commends the more than 200 organizations throughout the United States that honor Scottish heritage, tradition, and culture, representing the hundreds of thousands of Americans of Scottish descent, residing in every State, who already have made the observance of Tartan Day on April 6 a success; and Whereas these numerous individuals, clans, societies, clubs, and fraternal organizations do not let the great contributions of the Scottish people go unnoticed: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate designates April 6 of each year as ``National Tartan Day''. Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a resolution designating April 6 of each year as ``National Tartan Day,'' not only to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish-Americans to the United States, but to better recognize an important day in the history of all free men, April 6. It was nearly 700 years ago, on April 6, 1320, that a group of men in Arbroath, Scotland, enumerated a long list of grievances against the English king of the day, asserted their independence in no uncertain terms, and claimed that they, the people of Scotland, had the right to choose their own government. They wrote, ``We fight for liberty alone, which no good man loses but with his life * * *'' These were daring words, because the Scots who wrote those words lived in dangerous times. Violence ruled the world. Wars were fought for property, for conquest, for great tracts of land in far away countries. But the Scots who met on that cold April day, perhaps in the rain, were not fighting for property or conquest or estates. They wrote, ``We fight for liberty alone.'' This was all they fought for. Liberty. These were daring words--dangerous words--words that could bring certain death to them and their families. These Scotsmen were claiming liberty as their birthright. They were claiming they were born free men--and no king, no baron, no landlord with his troops could take this liberty from the men in Scotland. These were words that lasted, long after kings and buildings had fallen into ruin. These were words that endured, like the mountains, hills and stones of Scotland. These were words that reached across the years, the centuries, across the ocean. Over 450 years later, a group of men stood in a building in the British colony of Pennsylvania, on a hot summer's day, debating and then signing their own declaration of independence. They used the Arbroath Declaration as the template for their own thoughts, [[Page S12479]] their own words. This was natural--many of the men in that room in Philadelphia, almost half, were of Scottish ancestry. The draftsman of the document was Thomas Jefferson--one of his ancestors had signed the Arbroath Declaration, all of those centuries before. The words of the Arbroath Declaration meant something to those men--they were daring words--words that would not be quiet, that would not lie quiet and still on some forgotten Scottish hill. The men in Philadelphia that day remembered those words--``We fight for liberty alone''--and the men in Philadelphia signed their own declaration of independence. The words and thoughts of those long-ago Scottish patriots live on in America. Liberty, true liberty, has been good to their descendants in America. Scottish-Americans have helped build this nation since the beginning. Three-fourths of all American presidents can trace their roots to Scotland. The contributions of Scottish-Americans are innumerable: Some of the great have included Neil Armstrong, Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Alva Edison, William Faulkner, Malcolm Forbes, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Washington Irving, John Paul Jones, John Marshall, Andrew Mellon, Samuel F.B. Morse, James Naismith, Edgar Allen Poe, Gilbert Stuart, Elizabeth Taylor, to name only a few. But beyond all of the accomplishments of Scottish-Americans, beyond all the wonderful inventions like the telegraph and telephone and electric light, all the works of literature, all the great businesses and charitable organizations founded by Scottish-Americans, beyond all of those accomplishments, are the words. ``We fight for liberty alone * * * We fight for liberty alone, which no good man loses but with his life.'' Those are haunting words. Those are words that haunted the men who passed them down for generations, wherever men dreamed of being free, words that haunted the men who rewrote them in Philadelphia on that hot, steamy day, words that have haunted generations of Americans. Words that have lived inside men, unspoken, as they marched to Yorktown, as they lined up quietly behind the cotton bales in New Orleans, marched to Mexico, sailed to Cuba and the Philippines, and Europe and the Pacific and Korea and the Persian Gulf. These are words that live inside all of us Americans, and especially inside our veterans: ``We fight for liberty alone, which no good man loses but with his life.'' And how many have lost their lives for our freedom. It is appropriate that we honor April 6 as National Tartan Day. The Scottish clansmen who met on that cold day and declared their independence were our clansmen, no matter what nation we hail from. They were our brothers. Mr. President, I ask all my colleagues to support this resolution, so that we may never forget, so that the world, in some small way, may never forget, the beginnings of freedom in far-away, long-ago Arbroath. ____________________