Honoring Our Scottish Heritage

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
October 8, 2014

Immediately after the October National Board of Management Meeting, many of us set off to begin our Honoring our Scottish Heritage tour.  We were on different flights and most arrived in Edinburgh without incident.  As tired as we were upon arrival, the day’s activities were too exciting to miss.

Chaplain General Ann Salley Crider had planned a "Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans" service at historic St. Giles Cathedral, the oldest church in Edinburgh.  “Kirk” is the Scottish word for “church” and tartans represent specific Scottish clans, regions, or regiments.  The “Kirkin’ O’ The Tartans” is the presentation of a Scottish family’s symbol, its tartan, at church for thanksgiving to God for his faithfulness through the generations and his blessing upon us. 

A bag piper led the procession of the Pages with flags, Executive Officers and Joy Cardinal, Past Recording Secretary General and Chair of DAR Tours who served as the Beadle and carried an old family Bible.  Ann selected several scriptures referring to family and their relationships.  Denise VanBuren, Organizing Secretary General, has a beautiful voice and led us in singing “O God Our Help in Ages Past” and then sang a solo of “The Lord’s Prayer.”  With the acoustics in the stone cathedral, it sounded like a choir of angels.

The kirkin’ ceremony celebrates not only family heritage of the descendants of Scottish immigrants to the United States, but also the friendship of our nations in peace and in war.  We each raised our tartan in gratitude for our blessings.  Those of you who attended the Units Overseas Luncheon at Congress heard the announcement that a DAR tartan would be registered as the official tartan of the DAR.  Hope Vere Anderson, our Scottish tour guide, had a small sample of the fabric made and I was honored to lift it high during the blessing.

At the conclusion of the service, we toured the city in two buses and had a private reception and visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse with a tour of the Queen’s private rooms.  It was fascinating history learning about Mary, Queen of Scots and her tragic life in this house before being imprisoned in England.   Holyrood is the Queen’s official residence and she spends Royal Week there every summer.

Returning to the Balmoral Hotel, we ended the evening with an elegant dinner after which we retired before our second busy day.

I am thrilled that my fellow Executive Officers who are also traveling with me will be helping blog about our Scotland adventures. Look for their blog posts later this week and next week to hear all about our experiences during the Honoring Our Scottish Heritage Tour.

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