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Happy St Andrew's Day

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It was a bitterly cold and snowy day in Scotland today, but no one doubts the Scots can take whatever the weather hurls at them. The pictures we've seen show Scots clearing fields of white snow under brilliantly blue skies in a blue-and-white landscape reminiscent of their flag, which celebrates St Andrew and the nerve of the Scots.

In 1320 Scots issued the Declaration of Arbroath. Stating that Scotland had converted to Christianity through the inspiration of St. Andrew, they passionately affirmed their love of liberty -

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

St Andrew - his Greek name means manhood and valour - was Christ's first apostle and the brother of Peter. He is said to have preached in Asia Minor, Scythia, Russia and Greece and to have been martyred on an X-shaped cross. it is believed that his relics were brought to St Andrews early in the 8th century.

During a 9th century battle, the Scots saw a cloud shaped like a saltire – an X-shaped cross – in the blue sky, and declared that St Andrew was watching over them. They won the battle.

For centuries the Scots have stood shoulder to shoulder to defend freedom - their own freedom, the freedom of fellow Brits and the freedom of men and women around the world.

Their valour is legendary. Their scientific achievements, innovative ideas and enterprise have helped to overcome disease and make life happier and more comfortable for millions. Beginning in the 18th century, the Science Timeline is full of Scots.

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Dr Alexander Fleming and the "miracle" of penicillin's discovery, a life-saving synergy between scientists in Scotland, England and America.

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Adam Smith, whose advocacy of the free economy has made him a hero of freedom and science.

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Beloved poet Robert Burns

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Singer Susan Boyle. Wild horses could not keep her away.

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The life of Scotland can be found in Edinburgh. . .

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in a glass of whisky, sipped in Scotland's honour tonight. . .

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In the bleak beauty of Loch Lubhair /Image by Beautiful Britain. . .

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In the people of Scotland. . .

And in Scotland around the world.

Every year we post a revised and expanded ode to the Scots. In another ten years we might just get it right.

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