Written by Ken McNab
On 12 th Jul 2003, I had the pleasure of attending the 227 th Independence Day
Anniversary with the American Ambassador to Scotland, as one of a few people in
Scotland who is an ASTA (The American Society of Travel Agents) member. Her speech
revealed that we have many links with that great continent. She sent me a copy of her
speech and here are some of the interesting facts that she revealed on that day.
When one looks at the globe, Scotland is the second closest European Trading Nation to
the continent of America. History ties that in with The Tobacco Barons of Glasgow and
the links in trade with Scotland, which meant we were the strongest commercial
partners of The Americas. There after our trades were strong until the early 1950’s
when successive British Governments started to focus more on the European Union as
their own “United States of Europe”. This may have had a detrimental effect on our
links, but we need to change that.
There have always been strong ties between America and Scotland. It is the second most
popular country after Ireland. One of the former presidents, Woodrow Wilson, once
said, “Every line of strength in American history is coloured with Scottish blood.”
Here are a few facts we can take pride in
Scots traditional strengths in the fields of Banking, Education, Medicine and Law are also well demonstrated in American History
Scottish Americans have been very influential with some of the best known American symbols
Scotland & America can be seen to have much in common. Beyond a share of heritage and cultural affinity, we both have fierce pride in our nationhood, and we are both passionate about independence.
Did you know that in the US, there are nineteen Aberdeen’s, seven Edinburgh’s, nineteen Glasgow’s and thirteen Scotland; and that twenty-four US presidents have been of Scottish descent?
During the Gulf War, General Schwartzkopf commented to President George H. W. Bush, “Isn’t it amazing that 60% of the UK forces come from 10% of its population, the Scots?”
American physicist William A. Edelstein was one of the key developers of the MRI scanner, as part of a team of scientists in Aberdeen, which has gone on to save millions of lives. Further development was rejected by the British government and was later developed privately in the US.
We could discuss for hours the extent to which Scotland has helped shape America. To conclude, I’ll just leave you with this thought:
Without Scotland, just how different would America be today?