Friday, March 4, 2011

The Real Braveheart

The Real Braveheart

I am not a fan of Mel Gibson. My Scottish friend Gillian has told me that most Scots are not fans of Mel Gibson either. His portrayal of William Wallace insulted many people in Scotland for its historic inaccuracies. But that’s Hollywood. Historical epics are not made to tell history, they are made to make money. While in Scotland in 2009 I was able to visit Sterling Castle and see the fields where William Wallace led the battle for Scotland’s independence. It brought back to memory the statue of William Wallace I had seen here in Baltimore in Druid Hill Park. I told my friends in Scotland about the memorial here in the park. That’s part of my love of travel, to be able to visit other countries, meet friends, and then be able to make a connection with something familiar back home.

After returning from Scotland I drove over to Druid Hill Park to take some photos. The William Wallace Memorial in the park was created by artist David Watson Stevenson, who was a member of the Royal Academy of Scotland. The monument was presented to the city of Baltimore in 1893 by William Wallace Spence. It was then rededicated one hundred years later by the St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore. I really like the way the statue stands with his sword lifted facing the skyline of Baltimore.

Having been to Sterling and seen the castle and the battleground there, this monument has a special connection for me when I see it. Another connection is the fact that for the past few years Baltimore’s Gay Pride Festival has been located in Druid Hill Park. William Wallace now stands surrounded by the GLBT community each year in the park. The state of Maryland is now involved in a large battle for marriage rights. The battle for freedom continues today. I find it appropriate that he stands here today representing the fight for freedom. Move aside Mel Gibson. Here is the true Braveheart.

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