An American flag in Scotland

Today is Independence Day in America; the day we stood up against The Crown to demand self-rule. As a proud American, this is a very important day for me. But as an expat American living in Scotland, it’s a little difficult to find a traditional Independence Day celebration, so I did something a little untraditional.

“What was that?”, you ask.

Simple: I went in search of an American flag at Edinburgh Castle.

I might be stretching the “search” bit, as I knew exactly where I was going. So maybe I should call it a pilgrimage instead. Yeah, a pilgrimage to the American flag.

But not just any American flag. No, the one at Edinburgh Castle is really old. In fact, it is believed to be the earliest depiction of the American flag outside of America.

As it happens, nearly 1,000 prisoners of war were jailed at the Edinburgh Castle during the American Revolutionary War. And some of those prisoners carved a version of the “Stars and Stripes” in one of the prison doors.

The flag now stands as an object of interest for visitors to the Castle. It’s one of those fun little things I like to tell people to see when asked what “not to miss” when visiting my lovely adopted home town.

For me, of course, the flag stands as a reminder that many brave men and women put their lives on the line to fight for America’s freedom. And it remains a reminder that many brave men and women continue to fight today to keep those freedoms alive.

I may choose to live outside of America’s great borders, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten that I am American. Instead, my life as an expat has made me even more aware of my nationality – a nationality I am proud to own.

Happy Independence Day, America!

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