US and Scotland connections are still 'strong', vows key Scotland minister

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The connections between Scotland the United States are “strong” and will “endure long into the future”, Holyrood’s external affairs secretary has said.

Angus Robertson spoke out about the connections between the two countries after wreaths were laid at a newly restored statue of Abraham Lincoln on Monday.

The ceremony at the memorial in Edinburgh was organised by the White House Historical Association, with plans in place for it to be an annual event on Presidents’ Day – February 21.

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Scotland's constitution secretary Angus Robertson. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA WireScotland's constitution secretary Angus Robertson. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Scotland's constitution secretary Angus Robertson. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The statue of President Lincoln at the Old Calton Cemetery in Edinburgh was the first statue of an American president in Europe, and is the only statue of a president in Scotland.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Robertson said: “It is an honour to mark Presidents’ Day 2022 on behalf of the Scottish Government.

“The relationship between Scotland and the US is strong and our personal and cultural ties are enduring and longstanding.”

He continued: “The restoration of the monument and the inaugural wreath-laying event are a testament to the power of these historical connections and a welcome sign that these connections will endure long into the future.”

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US Consul General Jack Hillmeyer also laid a wreath at Monday’s ceremony. He said: “The United States and Scotland share many deep and profound connections.

“The Scottish-American Soldiers Monument provides a constant reminder that our close relationship even extends to the field of battle.

“This ceremony is a fitting tribute to Lincoln, whose shining example of leadership during America’s darkest hour continues to inspire, and the Scots who were moved to fight for freedom and equality on American shores.”

Meanwhile, Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said: “To see a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Edinburgh is a thrilling reminder of how he bent American history towards the arc of justice – and of our nation’s deep ties and everlasting friendship with Scotland.”

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Amy McNeese-Mechan, Edinburgh’s culture and communication vice convener, said she was “possibly” the first councillor in the city to be born in the US.

She said: “I grew up in the Land of Lincoln – the State of Illinois – and attended Abraham Lincoln elementary school.”

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