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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Lest We Forget - - -

Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

This is just to remind everybody that on this date, 14 June 1775, two hundred and thirty-one years ago, the Continental Congress authorized George Washington to raise an Army to defend the Colonies.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! to my own beloved United States Army in which I proudly served, as did both my fathers (I'm adopted), my uncles, a younger brother, and a brother-in-law!

What's more, my ancestor on my father's side, and my ancestor on my mother's side, BOTH served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War for Independence!!!

How do you like them there apples, hey?

Also, as I am still learning of my Scottish heritage, it is important to remember that on yesterday's date, 13 June 1814, one hundred and ninety-two years ago, the horribly infamous CLEARANCES began in the Scottish Highlands.

Now, not very many Americans know about the history of the Clearances, but most Americans do know that the potato famine in Ireland is the reason why so many Americans have Irish ancestry.

The same is true of the Clearances in Scotland.

The Clearances are the reason so many Scots became Americans, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders.

The English wanted the Scots removed from the Highlands because the land would be more valuable raising herds of sheep, rather than merely renting to poor tenant farmers (called "crofters" in Scotland).

Just as so many Irish perished because of the potato famine, many Scots also perished because of the Clearances.

What made the Clearances even worse was Scots betraying Scots, accepting money from the English to evict impoverished tenants from their crofts (Scottish farm houses), which were then burned, all to make room for sheep.

So, I will add that unhappy date to my YAHOO! calendar, so I won't ever forget.

I've heard that a major Hollywood movie is going to be made (or is already being made) to tell the story of the Clearances, but I don't know if that's true.

The other major historic event which brought Scots to America en masse was the failed Jacobite uprising, known as "the '45", when Bonny Prince Charley was attempting to reclaim the throne of Scotland.

But, that's another story for another time.

Anyway, that's why you have so many Scots and Irish living among you today!

Ain't we lucky?

Slainte mhath, y'all!

Thank you.

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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