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.]

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