On April 4, 2008, President George W. Bush signed a Presidential Proclamation designating April 6th as “National Tartan Day.”*
“Americans of Scottish descent have made enduring contributions to our Nation with their hard work, faith, and values,” the Proclamation reads. “On National Tartan Day, we celebrate the spirit and character of Scottish Americans and recognize their many contributions to our culture and our way of life.”
Why April 6th? The Scottish Declaration of Independence – the Declaration of Arbroath – was signed on April 6, 1320. In fact, given that several of our Founding Fathers were of Scottish descent, it is thought that the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on this particular document (see facts below).
The Presidential Proclamation states:
“Scotland and the United States have long shared ties of family and friendship, and many of our country’s most cherished customs and ideals first grew to maturity on Scotland’s soil.
“The Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence signed in 1320, embodied the Scots’ strong dedication to liberty, and the Scots brought that tradition of freedom with them to the New World. Sons and daughters of many Scottish clans were among the first immigrants to settle in America, and their determination and optimism helped build our Nation’s character.
“Several of our Founding Fathers were of Scottish descent, as have been many Presidents and Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Many Scottish Americans, such as Andrew Carnegie, were great philanthropists, founding and supporting numerous scientific, educational, and civic institutions. From the evocative sounds of the bagpipes to the great sport of golf, the Scots have also left an indelible mark on American culture.”
This weekend, New York City, home to the first (1982) and the largest Tartan Day celebration, will be parading through the streets with tartan-dressed bagpipers, drummers, Highland dancers, and even a pack of the famed Scottish terriers.
We tip our Tam O’ Shanter caps to them, and all Scottish Americans, who have helped make our country great!
Watch the video below for a sample of Scottish bagpipe music, from a true Scotsman in front of the David Hume (another great Scottish thinker!) statue in Edinburgh, Scotland:
The Scots have contributed to more than just our nation’s character. Check out the book, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur L. Herman, for a fascinating look at how Scotland made crucial contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, commerce and politics in the 18th and 19th centuries.
All Things Tartan:
Take a peak at the many options and varieties of tartan on The Scottish Register of Tartans’ website (the Royal family wears the “Balmoral“, pictured on the left).
Or read about the history of Tartan.
Facts (taken from here):
- Of the 13 governors in the newly established United States, nine were Scots.
- Of the 56 signatures on the Declaration of Independence, some scholars suggest nearly a third of them were of Scottish descent.
- Of the 43 Presidents who have taken office, 33 have been of Scottish descent.
April 6th was first designated “National Tartan Day” on March 20, 1998, when the U.S. Senate passed Resolution 155 as a result of lobbying by a coalition of Scottish Americans. Seven years later, on March 9, 2005, the House passed Resolution 41 designating April 6th as “National Tartan Day.” Finally, on April 4, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Presidential Proclamation (info taken from here).