Remembrance of our forefathers

The Ulster Scot in Ulster a loyal bunch

At this time of the year (July) the Ulster Scots community remember what is seen as important dates in our history.   It is what we call the Marching Season here in Ulster.

For example we remember the Battle of the Somme  on the first of July each year.

Kilcluney’s painting of the 36th Ulster Division in action

The Battle of the Somme was fought at such terrible cost that it has come to symbolise the tragic futility of the First World War. Its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and it was felt deeply at home.

This year we remember the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle on the first of July 1916.  Many young Ulster-men ended up in the 36th (Ulster) Division and a great many never returned (with approximately 2,500 being killed over a two day period and a further 3,000 either wounded or missing – in reality missing meant they never found your body).

Another important date is the 12th of July when we remember the Battle of the Boyne

William did actually lead his Calvary at the battle

which had a profound impact on Irish, British and European (thus world history)  history (ensuring that the UK continued down the Reformation path).   This site is an excellent source of videos on the battle and well worth visiting.  William was Dutch and brought with him Dutch, Danish, French (Huguenots), Scottish and English troops and his army was supported by local Ulster Scots.

While pondering the remembrance of the fallen while watching the remembrance services for the Somme on the first of July by the BBC  I thought about how often the Ulster Scots had given their lives in the service of the British, losing so many of the cream of our young men out of what they felt was duty and loyalty.  Yet it is ironic that my brethren who fought so many times for the British on this side of the pond had brethren on the other side of the pond who were instrumental in defeating the British in the War of Independence.  There are legitimate reasons why this was so in the homeland that I will not go into here.

The Ulster Scot in the colonies

Matthew Newsome discusses the origins of the Ulster Scots in Carolina and is one of many treatments of the subject.  What interested me was  the influence and contribution of the Ulster Scots to the American Revolution and the establishment of the foundations of democracy in the USA.  The Migration of the Scots-Irish to Southwestern North Carolina.  A very short but informative treatment of the Ulster Scot contribution to the actual Declaration of Independence can be found in the Ulster Scots Agency’s publication Ulster-Scots and the Declaration of Independence.  

The influence of Ulster-Scots Presbyterians was heavily stamped on the American Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776 and in the unfolding events which led to the establishment of the United States as a nation. The historic Declaration contained sentiments closely identified with the aspirations of the Presbyterian immigrant stock from the north of Ireland who settled in the American colonies during the 18th century.

It goes on to say:

Captain Johann Heinrichs, of the Hessian Jaeger Corps in British service in the colonies, said in 1778: “Call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than an Irish Scotch

Many of the Founding Fathers were Ulster Scot stock

(Scotch-Irish) Presbyterian rebellion”. Indeed, Colonel A. K. McClure, the Philadelphia writer, commented: “It was the Scotch-Irish people of the colonies that made the Declaration of Independence of 1776. Without them it would not have been thought of except as a fancy. The actions of the Continental Congress voiced the teachings of the Scotch-Irish people of the land. They did not falter, they did not dissemble, they did not temporise. It was not the Quaker, nor the Puritan, not the Cavalier or the German, it was the Scotch-Irish of the land whose voice was first heard in Virginia”. A forerunner to the American Declaration of Independence was the Mecklenburg Declaration, signed at Charlotte in North Carolina on May 20, 1775 by 27 leading citizens in the region, 18 of whom were of Ulster-Scots Presbyterian origin. This Carolina back country document fearlessly staked the claim for American independence, with the signatories declaring themselves a free and independent people. Similar patriotic sentiments were expressed at the time by Scots-Irish settlers at Abingdon, Virginia, at Pine Creek in western Pennsylvania and at Hanna’s Town in south-western Pennsylvania

When reading the rest of this short account you cannot but help note with awe the significance of the Ulster Scots in the founding of the United States of America.  After I watched the remembrance service for the Somme on the first of July I watched some coverage of the fourth of July on Fox.  I had also been following Legends & Lies: The Patriots with interest.  What struct me with great force was the commitment to an individuals freedom to live ones life according to ones own conscience and how this fed into the development of democracy in America and elsewhere.

Yet this was not just some intellectual exercise for generations of the Ulster Scots.  It meant to them a willingness to put everything on the line to achieve and protect this freedom.  This struct me anew with great pride that my community has had such a great impact in the world for freedom and that many of them gave everything for this.

Margaret Cochran Corbin – First female Revolutionary War heroine

As is my wont when thinking about this I wondered about the ordinary people who fought

Margaret Corbin Ulster Scots heroine of the revolutionary war

and died during the American War of Independence.  One such person that caught my eye during  my research was Margaret Cochran Corbin.

A short description of her can be found here and she is a typical example of an Ulster Scot who was willing and able to give her all for what she believed in.  Her spirit and courage was mirrored by those 5,500 Ulster Scot young men that fell (either dead or wounded) in two days at the battle of the Somme.

For those that are interested in looking at this further a good start would be IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM: An Ulster Scots Journey.  You can also look at my Useful Links section for a number of resources on the Ulster Scots (here).

Are we doomed to repeat history?

When you look at what your forefathers did to purchase the freedoms that we enjoy today it motivates you to seek to defend those freedoms in the here and now.  I have to say that I had studied some aspects of history and I believed that I was an informed  person but I really did not take much heed of our history (my community’s history).  I had grown up in a community that remembers parts of our history every year yet I came to understand that I knew very little about my own people and their place in the world.

But what really got me seriously thinking about this was my moving overseas to work.  I have mentioned this before, working overseas in international development for over 10 years has brought me to a position where I now realise the value of our forefathers and the wisdom, courage, strength and commitment to freedom that they left for us.  Men and women who were willing to give their all, and sometimes did, not only for themselves but for us.

I look at what my forefathers achieved in this world and it invigorates me for the first time in my life to devote myself to what we have today and seeking to ensure that my two children inherit the things that I did.  I did not inherit financially as my father was a poor working class Ulster Scot with ten kids.  I inherited the freedoms purchased for me by the blood, sweet and tears of many generations of my forefathers.  If we live in the West we all did.

What I also learnt in the last ten years is that our real enemy is Islam.  Those that have read any of my writings will know I have lived and worked in many majority controlled Muslim countries where sharia is a reality.  I have seen it up front and personal and am convinced that it is completely incompatible with our culture.  We need to take the example of our forefathers that achieved so much and fight to preserve what they gave to us as their legacy.

I  just watched LT Gen Michael Flynn on Fox about our war on radical Islam, and having lived under it I know the character of the war thatwe are engaged in – as I have said many times we are in a clash of cultures and we are losing the war because our leaders are doing nothing. At the moment I see only sheep in positions of leadership in the United States and in Europe.  Yet in many ways it is our fault because we are allowing it.  In the UK we have started pushing back with  BREXIT and there is the chance to strengthen this in the States with Trump.  Yet we are fighting on two fronts – Islam and the liberal left.  We must win this war for our children’s sake and when we look at our leadership we see people that refuse even to name our enemy never mind oppose and fight them.

Originally posted 2016-07-17 08:43:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Lived and worked in Muslim-majority countries for over 12 years while working in the international development sector as a senior director/manager. This included South East Asia, East, and West Africa (including the Horn of Africa), the Middle East and Afghanistan. Main interests in life is the study of Political Islam and how this has interacted with non-Islamic civilisations, especially Judeo-Christian civilisations, in history and currently.

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