Commemoration of the 1298 Battle of Falkirk at the memorial cairn, Callander Park, Falkirk.
The cairn erected in Callander Park to honour all the Scots who stood behind William Wallace at the battle of Falkirk in 1298 was unveiled last year on the 21st July 2007.
It was the nearest Saturday to the actual date of the battle, 22nd July 1298.
This occasion was something special and everyone who attended could not help be moved by the sheer passion and pride that was felt throughout the ceremony.
The weather last year was fine and sunny and this year proved to be just as kind with light winds and bright sunshine.
Around a couple of hundred people had gathered in the grounds of the Falkirk Old Parish Kirkyard, including representatives from The Society of William Wallace, The Scottish Knights Templar, Crann Tara, Siol nan Gaidheal, Strathleven Artizans, Na fir Dileas, The Scottish Fellowship, and many members of the public.
The proceedings started with a speech by Kenneth Schira of the Knights Templar followed by the laying of wreaths in memory of Sir John de Graeme, Sir John Stewart and The Men of Bute.
The Denny and Dunipace pipe band were once again in attendance to lead the group through the town to Callander Park.
Gordon Aitken once again led the procession out of the old Kirk flanked by his two standard bearers, it was a stirring sight with the pipes playing and the standards and flags flying in the breeze as the kilted patriots made their way down Main Street towards Callander Park.
On reaching the park a short opening speech by Ken Schira was followed by the raising of the Saltire by Cllr. Angus MacDonald, who is also responsible for bring the Mod to Falkirk this year. Gordon and his two Standard bearers marched over the brow of the hill towards the cairn to plant his sword in front of the cairn to symbolise a cross.
Ken Schira then led an ecumenical service of commemoration to the Scots who fell at the battle. This was followed by a medley of tunes played by the Denny & Dunipace Pipe band.
Gordon Aitken gave a fine speech followed by a rendition of a song he wrote, “Stand Wi Wallace” It brought a lump to the throats of the assembled crowd.
There followed the laying of wreaths by the various groups; 1298 Falkirk Commemoration Group, Society of William Wallace, The Men of Bute, Knights Templar, SNP, Grahams Dyke Branch, Siol nan Gaidheal, Na fir Dileas and the Camelon Local History Group.
There was call to one minute’s silence followed by a pipers lament.
Robert Harvey of Siol nan Gaidheal gave a speech explaining the meaning of the Siol flag and the aims of Siol nan Gaidheal.
David Ross gave a speech in his own inimitable style inspiring the assembled patriots with the thought that each Scot present probably had an ancestor that stood at the battle with Wallace.
In closing Gordon Aitken led the crowd in singing “ Scots Wha Hae” followed by the closing prayers by Ken Schira, retiral of the sword as the cross and benediction, he thanked all present and looked forward to meeting again in one years time.
By Alex Calderhead