Thursday, August 19, 2010

Little bit of Hieland hyperbole, right here

Bill Millin, who piped them ashore at Swords Beach, has died.

He went in with the Special Service Brigade near Caen on D-Day., and in the nightmare of that horrific kill-zone, Lord Lovat, the hereditary chieftain of the Frasers asked him to play. Millin was willing, but cited War Office regulations, which forbade thus exposing pipers as targets. The Fraser replied "Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.”

He played "Highland Laddie," up and down the beach that day. Later, German gunners who had him their sights said they didn't shoot “because they thought I was crazy.”

No. He wasn't crazy. That's not what they call it, back where I--and the MacGregors and Orrs, the Roundheads and Tories, before me--come from.

I often wonder if the rich men in quiet offices, the demagogues screeching over loudspeakers or Twitter accounts, hundreds or thousands of miles from the firing line, ever consider how little they deserve the courage of the men and women who go into battle.

Aw haw hey, Private. Go well.

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