Thursday, March 25, 2010

William Wallace

I love Scotland and I love Heroes who fought and died for freedom and the countries that they cherished. So, who could I find cooler than William Wallace (in the category of Medieval history, that is), the Scottish Hero who fought and died for the freedom of his country?

Yes, of course, he, like next to all great Heroes, was defeated and murdered in the end. So I just won't write about that part and if you really want to know about it you can find it some other place. (I have a link to that place at the end of the post.)

William Wallace was really cool. O.K, that was extremely unprofessional sounding but equally true. To me, he is like someone out of a storybook; a Scottish Robin Hood sort of fellow. At times the story of Wallace seems to have just been made up by some author and not an actually event.

His loyalty to Scotland is part of what makes him so admirable. To say that he loved and was loyal to Scotland would be an understatement: he devoted his life to Scotland and died for Scotland.

He hated England as much as he loved Scotland; he killed every Englishman that dared get into an argument with him. Regardless of whether this story true or not, Sir William hated the English. It may be just a legend, but it is said that one night as he was going to visit his wife or sweetheart, some Englishmen came to get him, he ran out the back door and they, the English, burned down his wife/sweetheart's house, killing her. Needless to say, this made him mad. He tracked them all down and killed them. (How cool is that?)

It has, of course, occurred to me in the process of making this post, that perhaps Sir William, though he did great things for Scotland, might not actually have been a great heroic sort of person at the time of his life. Anyone who has seen
Star Trek: First Contact knows what I am talking about.

But you know what? To me, it doesn't really matter his exact character, because, for whatever reason, he did something wonderful:

"Wallace had behind him the spirit of a race as stern and as resolute as any bred among men. He added military gifts of a high order. Out of an unorganized mass of valiant fighting men he forged, in spite of cruel poverty and primitive administration, a stubborn, indomitable army, ready to fight at any odds and mock defeat."

[Sir Winston Churchill, The Birth of Britain, Vol. 1 of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc., 1956).]

Sir William was a great leader. He did something amazing, just truly amazing. He fought for, what is, perhaps, the most precious thing known to mankind, something for which people have fought for died for and, on rare occasions, obtained, ever since time began and they will continue to till it ends.


He wanted freedom. Freedom for his people. Sadly, this did not happen during his life time. He started the fight but other carried it on. Twenty-three years after the Battle of Stirling Bridge The Scottish wrote the Declaration of Arbroath, still fighting for freedom:

"As long as but a hundred of us remain alive,
never will we on any conditions
be brought under English rule.
It is in truth not for glory,
nor riches, nor honors, that we are fighting,
but for freedom
- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself"

That is but a part, it is long and sad, for it tells how sorrow was in Scotland, Scotland the Brave. But it shows how much it meant to them to be free. And it is words like these that make one think that perhaps William Wallace didn't die in vain.

This the best site on the matter; it has all kinds of info on the life of Sir William and the battle of sterling bridge and the battle of Falkirk (that part is really sad) and the death of sir William (that part is even sadder) but really, it tells just about every thing they know:

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