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Saturday, December 20, 2008


Clansmen, Et Alii:

I was just now perusing the web site of the Potomac Celtic Festival, which will take place on Saturday 13 June and Sunday 14 June 2009.

I refuse to attend, participate in, or support this festival.

Whoever is in charge has published a new policy requiring all swords, dirks, and sgian dubhs be inspected by security officers, who will tie or tape the weapons into their sheaths or scabbards.

Apparently, no Scottish clan will be permitted a bodyguard to render a salute with their swords during the opening ceremonies.

There will be no posing for clan photographs with the swords drawn.

You may remember that at last year's Potomac Celtic Festival, there was no Scottish flag, and only one lone bagpiper.

The only Confederate Battle Flag was the one flying from the cab window of my pickup truck.

This is off the subject, but, it's been several years since I last observed public display of a Confederate Battle Flag at any Celtic festival or Scottish gathering, and I remember that they used to always be included with all the other flags.

Our clan did have swords at the Potomac Celtic Festival last year, and so far as I am aware, there was no problem.

During the parade, we carried the swords in a salute, and later, we posed for photographs with our swords drawn.

Christian Garin, Myself, Leon Hicks, Chris Hicks

Obviously, clansmen are not welcome at this event.

The laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia does permit citizens to wear loaded firearms, either openly or concealed, and local police are not permitted to interfere with that right.

(See latest court ruling, Norfolk versus Szymecki - - - the judge ruled the arrest was legal, but the charges were dropped when it was learned that state law bars local restrictions on firearms.)

So, what's the problem with swords, dirks, and sgian dubhs?

My own sword and dirk are cheap, not classified as "battle ready", but are more like theatrical stage props, so if I tried to use them as weapons, they'd probably break apart.

But, come to think of it, if the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibits local police from interfering with a law abiding citizen wearing a loaded firearm, then how are local entities authorized to interfere with a law abiding citizen wearing a sword, dirk, or sgian dubh?

Anyway, I ain't going, not to that festival, nor any other festival that imposes a similar policy.

Is this the same reason that National Tartan Day is no longer observed in Washington, D.C., and is this the same reason the Irish stopped having their shamrock planting ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery on Saint Patrick's Day?

When I e-mailed an inquiry to Arlington National Cemetery and the Embassy of Ireland, I received no response.

Slainte mhath!

Is Mise Le Meas,

John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."


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