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U.S. House of Representatives Tartan Day Resolution, 2005

Congressional Record Entry for Wednesday, March 9, 2005: House Resolution 41 Regarding National Tartan Day

Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 41) expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a day should be established as ``National Tartan Day'' to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish-Americans to the United States.

The Clerk read as follows:

H. Res. 41

Whereas April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320, and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled in part on that inspirational document;

Whereas this resolution honors the major role that Scottish-Americans
played in the founding of the Nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the Governors in 9 of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry, and Scottish-Americans successfully helped shape the Nation in its formative years and guide it through its most troubled times;

Whereas this resolution recognizes the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish-Americans that have led to America's preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts;

Whereas this resolution commends the more than 200 organizations
throughout the United States that honor Scottish heritage, tradition, and culture, representing the hundreds of thousands of Americans of Scottish descent, residing in every State, who already have made the observance of Tartan Day on April 6 a success; and

Whereas these numerous individuals, clans, societies, clubs, and fraternal organizations do not let the great contributions of the Scottish people go unnoticed: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that a day should be established as ``National Tartan Day'' to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish-Americans to the United States.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan).

GENERAL LEAVE

Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on H. Res. 41.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Tennessee?

There was no objection.

Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, H. Res. 41 expresses the sense of the House of
Representatives regarding ``National Tartan Day.'' This is a resolution for which I have the privilege to be the primary Republican sponsor, and the primary sponsor on the Democratic side has been the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. McIntyre). Each year, thousands of Americans of Scottish origin recognize April 6 as Tartan or Clan Day. Next month many events around the country will commemorate National Tartan Day at churches, festivals, and other social gatherings.

In March 1998, the Senate designated April 6 of each year as National Tartan Day because that is the date the Declaration of Arbroath was drafted.

The House no longer permits establishments of commemorations, but I am pleased to support National Tartan Day and salute all Americans who will observe this day.

The consideration of this resolution also provides an opportunity to review an important time in world history. In 1296, King Edward the First of England invaded Scotland. The following year, Robert the Bruce responded by leading Scots in a revolt to regain their sovereignty. Members may remember Robert the Bruce as the leader who continued the Scottish rebellion after his comrade-in-arms William Wallace's death, as portrayed in the movie
"Braveheart."

After years of conflict, the outmanned Scottish soldiers, led by Robert the Bruce, who had since been crowned King of Scotland, overcame the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. This battle was the culmination of Robert's struggle for Scottish independence.

Afterwards, the Declaration of Arbroath was written and completed on April 6, 1320, most likely by the monks of Arbroath Abbey on behalf of the Scottish barons and nobles. The declaration was a letter, in Latin, sent to Pope John the 22nd because the Pope had yet to recognize Scottish independence. The declaration affirmed Scotland's determination to maintain its independence.

Ultimately, the Pope was swayed by the Scottish appeal, and King Edwards, III, recognized King Robert and the independence of Scotland in 1328. The Declaration of Arbroath is undeniably the most important document in Scottish history, but it is also widely viewed as greatly influencing the American Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Members can also see Scottish-American influence throughout the history of our great Nation. Thirty-five U.S. Supreme Court justices have been of Scottish descent. Nearly half of the Secretaries of the U.S. Treasury, and one-third of the Secretaries of State have been of Scottish origin. Nine of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were directly or indirectly descended from the Scots. And nine out of 13 Governors of the newly created United States were Scot or of Scottish descent.

The 2000 census reported that almost 5 million Americans are of Scottish heritage, and 4.3 million of Scots-Irish descent.

Madam Speaker, almost everyone who settled my home area of east Tennessee was of Scottish or Scots-Irish origin. The Scots-Irish were originally the poorest people in Scotland. Then they moved to Ireland and became the poorest people there. Then the Scots-Irish moved to the United States and became the poorest people here. They seem to have a knack for it.

Scottish-Americans, however, also have a knack for working hard to preserve their ancestry and heritage. There are more than 200 organizations through the United States that honor Scottish heritage. In my district, the Scottish Society of Knoxville recently held its annual Robert Burns Night when they honored Scotland's most celebrated poet.

Each year in Gatlinburg, right outside my district, Scottish-Americans
from all over the country gather for the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival Games, or better known as Highland games. Festivities include throwing the battle axe, the kilted mile, and highland wrestling. Highland games like these are held all over the Nation.

A few years ago, the airline magazine ``World Traveler'' of Northwest Airlines profiled my Scottish ancestry. In that interview I told them one cannot get much more Scottish than having the name Duncan, being Presbyterian, and having most of one's relatives coming from Scott County, Tennessee.

Madam Speaker, I am proud of my Scottish and Scots-Irish heritage. I am pleased to join with the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. McIntyre) in support of House Resolution 41. I thank him for offering this measure and urge its adoption.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Madam Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. McIntyre), the other cosponsor of this resolution.

Mr. McINTYRE. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor all of those of Scottish ancestry who have had an impact on America in the present and the past, and we know they will in the future.

April 6, Tartan Day, is a significant day for all Americans. Since the founding of our Nation, Scottish-Americans have played a key role in the growth of the United States. Contributions made by Scottish-Americans have helped America's preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, the media, visual and performing arts, and yes, athletics and entertainment as well.

Tartan Day has a special significance for all of us who share Scottish heritage. Next month, the 685th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish declaration of independence, will be celebrated. The Declaration of Arbroath was signed on April 6, 1320. This declaration of independence includes these inspirational lines: ``We fight not for glory,
nor riches nor honors, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.''

Since that important day, April 6 has been set aside to honor the millions of Scottish descendants who have made outstanding contributions to our great society. Over 450 years later, the American Declaration of Independence was modeled in part on that inspirational document. When our Nation was founded, almost half of the signers of America's Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, and nine of the Governors of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry. Throughout the history of our
country, three-fourths of our Presidents have been of Scottish ancestry. This tells us despite the fact we are few in number, Scots tend to take seriously the words from the Declaration of Arbroath.

Many of us in the House of Representatives can claim Scottish ancestry as well, including the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan), an original cosponsor of this resolution. Every day those of us of Scottish descent in this Chamber live by the words of the Declaration of Arbroath that I quoted a moment ago. We are here to advance freedom.

Today it is my honor to recognize the 685th anniversary of this historic declaration. We have friends in the gallery from the National Capital Society, St. Andrew's Society, and if they would stand. Many of them are in their Scottish dress and kilts as well. We thank them for their presence as well.

Scottish-Americans have left their mark on America as pioneers and innovators. Their contributions to the history and development of the United States are invaluable. Who are we talking about? Here are some examples of great Scottish-Americans past and present: Neil Armstrong; Alexander Graham Bell; Andrew Carnegie; Julia Child; Hugh Downs; Thomas Edison; Malcolm S. Forbes; Katherine Hepburn; Billy Graham; Washington Irving; Andrew Mellon; Samuel F.B. Morse; Grandma Moses; and with the ACC tournament coming to Washington, James Naismith; Edgar Allan Poe; Willard Scott; Robert Louis Stevenson; Elizabeth Taylor; and James McNeil Whistler, just to mention a few. In fact, one in 10 of all Nobel prizes awarded have gone to people of Scottish ancestry.

Today, there are more than 200 organizations throughout the United States that honor Scottish heritage, tradition and culture, representing hundreds of thousands of Americans who are of Scottish descent. Every year, the observance of Tartan Day on April 6 is a success because of these fine organizations. There are Scottish-American clan societies, clubs, fraternal associations and individual Scottish Americans that represent literally millions of Americans nationwide.

In North Carolina, my home State, Mecklenburg County first officially observed Tartan Day in 1996. The City of Greensboro has followed suit. Tennessee and Colorado also have special days honoring Scottish heritage. The Alaska Highlanders pipe band in Anchorage has celebrated this special time as has California with proclamations issued by several cities and counties as well.

Later this month, a congressional delegation will be traveling as guests of the British government to Scotland. It will be our great honor to present this resolution to the Scottish Parliament with a declaration that the United States has officially recognized at long last the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scots everywhere.

A Tartan provides instant recognition of family and kinship. Passing this resolution honoring Tartan Day will further emphasize the many Scottish contributions to the growth and development of our great country, the United States of America.

On behalf of all of us of Scottish descent, I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution. Help us officially honor the contributions made by Scottish Americans by voting ``yes'' on H. Res. 41, a resolution recognizing National Tartan Day.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Issa). The Chair would remind all Members to refrain from making references to persons in the gallery.

Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Miller).

Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, as a proud second-generation Scottish American, I join my colleagues in recognizing the tremendous contributions of Scottish Americans who immigrated to America because they hoped for a better life and all the wonderful possibilities that is America. Their ambitions, their braveness, their pioneering spirit helped build our economy, helped build our culture and, more than anything, contributed to our history.

I think it is significant to note, certainly, that one-half of the signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and at least 11 United States Presidents have been of Scottish ancestry. They were pioneers, of course, but they also had an ability and the desire to work hard.

Some of the great Scottish Americans include Alexander Hamilton, one of the architects of our Constitution and the first Secretary of the Treasury; John Paul Jones, the father of the United States Navy; Andrew Carnegie, one of the most successful businessmen ever, renowned for his charitable activities; Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, who both captured the imaginations of the entire world by floating above it and exploring what no person had ever explored before.

In fact, the term `Great Scot' is meant to express oneself in the presence of something extraordinary. I think I speak for all Americans of Scottish heritage and lineage when I say that the Scots brought a spirit of freedom and rugged individualism that found fertile soil in America.

On a final note, I might add that it was the Scots, of course, who originated the game of golf, and it is well known that, less than 1 hour after golf was invented in Scotland, that the first golf joke was heard.

Mr. Speaker, Scots are usually members of a clan, from the term `clanna' which means ``group function as a family,'' coexisting, succeeding and overcoming as a family. Today, we pay tribute to all Scottish Americans who have strengthened our American family.

I urge all my colleagues to support this resolution.

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, from time to time, it is important that we acknowledge our individual histories and the characteristics that define us as Americans. Last month, we celebrated African-American History Month. Today, I am very happy to stand with the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. McIntyre) and the other 56 cosponsors of H. Res. 41. This bill recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans to the United States by expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a day should be established as National Tartan Day.

Scottish Americans have played important roles in the growth and development of this Nation. Three such Scottish Americans are John Witherspoon, Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell. John Witherspoon immigrated to the United States in order to become the sixth President of Princeton University. He was a member of the ratifying convention that made New Jersey the third State to ratify the Constitution of the United States. He also is identified with the Common Sense Philosophy, which is considered to be of importance in the development of our national life.

Andrew Carnegie came to the United States not as an educated man but as a poor immigrant. His vision and business acumen earned him a fortune in steel during the industrial revolution. Carnegie used his wealth to establish one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Much of his collected fortune was spent to establish over 2,500 public libraries and to support institutions of higher learning and public education. By the end of his life, Carnegie gave away $350 million.

Inventor Alexander Graham Bell, like Carnegie, was primarily self-educated, and he, too, accomplished much during his life. Graham is best known for inventing the telephone, though he explored the realm of communications and engaged in a great variety of scientific activities.

Almost a decade ago, Congress recognized the influential role of the Scottish community in our country by making April 6, 1997, National Tartan Day. April 6 was chosen because it commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, which asserted Scotland's sovereignty over English territorial claims and influenced our own Declaration of Independence.

Therefore, Madam Speaker, I want to take this moment to thank the originators of this bill for their leadership and want to reiterate my strong support for H. Res. 41. Our Scottish citizens have made a tremendous impact on the development of this Nation, and all of us are proud of them.

Madam Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let me just close by, first of all, thanking the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) for his words and especially thanking our colleague from North Carolina (Mr. McIntyre) for his great leadership on this legislation. I thank you for your noting the origins of the great game of golf in Scotland. As one who loves golf, and you mentioned golf jokes, I might just tell you that when I come in from playing golf and people ask me how I did, I just tell them unbelievable, and they can take it anyway they want to then.

I think this is important legislation, and I will tell you why. There are very few countries that have as close ties as the United States and Scotland. We have mentioned many of those ties and much of that heritage here today. But until this day and until this legislation, those close ties between Scotland and the United States have not been recognized in any way by the United States House of Representatives. And so I urge my colleagues to support this very important resolution.

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Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the many achievements and contributions that Scottish-Americans have made to the United States. I have long touted the importance of immigration as a source of strength for our Nation, and I am gratified to see the Scottish-American immigrant population be recognized by this House Resolution.

Scottish-Americans have made significant contributions to American society and have played an influential role in the history of our country. Not only was Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers, a Scottish-American, but at least eleven U.S. Presidents were also of Scottish descent. Among the ranks of proud Scottish-Americans were almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and two of the first Supreme Court Justices. Andrew Carnegie, one of this country's most successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists, came to this country as a poor Scottish immigrant.

To honor the contributions of Scottish immigrants, it is appropriate that Congress recognize April 6 as ``National Tartan Day.'' The recognition by Congress that immigrants of all backgrounds contribute immeasurably to our success as a nation is a sentiment to which I could not more strongly agree.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to recognize the achievements of the Scottish-American community. On behalf of this body, I express my support for establishing April 6 as ``National Tartan Day'' and congratulate the Scottish-American community on their numerous contributions to our Nation.

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Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Miller of Michigan). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 41.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

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