06 April 2012

Speech on Bannockburn Day (24 June) 1997

This is a speech I composed for and gave at the end of a poetry reading 24 June 1997.  It was Bannockburn Day, the 683rd anniversary of that battle.  

Less than three months afterward, the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly for devolution and their own Scottish Parliament sitting in Holyrood.  The main source was Randall Wallace, writer of the screenplay for "Braveheart", but also the actual William Wallace and a predecessor of several centuries named Calgacus, of the Caledonii who fought the Romans at the Battle of Mons Graupius.

Sons of Scotland, I see before me a whole army here in defiance of tyranny.  You've come to fight as free men, and free men you are.  What will you do without freedom?

We are not here to seek peace, but to make war for the liberation of our country.  Let our enemies come and they will find us prepared to meet them to their very beards.  They plunder the whole world from one end of the earth to the other and still they are not satisfied.  To robbery, slaughter, and plunder they give the lying name of government; they create a wasteland and call it peace.

Help me.  In the name of Christ, help yourselves.  You have a God-given right to something better.  Now is the chance.  Now.  If we join, we can win.  If we win, then we will have something none of us has ever had before--a country of out own.  We are not fighting for glory not riches nor honors, but for that freedom which no good man will surrender but with his life.

Yes, fight and you may die.  Run, and you will live, at least for now.  And dying in your beds many years from now, would you not be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for a chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom?

Then go out and let them know that Scotland's daughters and her sons are theirs no more.  Let them know that Scotland is free.

"On this day in the year of our Lord thirteen hundred and fourteen, patriots of Scotland, starving and outnumbered, charged the fields at Bannockburn.  They fought like warrior-poets.  They fought like Scotsmen.  And won their freedom."

This was the last of my performance that night, and I got a standing ovation because of this speech and its contents.  The credit for that belongs to the writers mentioned above.

(FOOTNOTE: The date I posted first posted this on Facebook, 11 September 2010, was the 713th anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge.)

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