There were storm clouds brewing overhead at the start of the week in which the people of Scotland will vote in a historic referendum to decide whether or not Scotland will become an independent state.
Algy flew down to the peat bogs, beneath the heavy sky, and erected his wee Saltire on a prominent tussock. As he gazed at the gathering clouds, he wondered what the future would hold for all his friends in Scotland, and he remembered a famous poem:
What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
[Algy is quoting the poem A Nation’s Strength by the 19th century American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson.]