"He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.
Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.
Pvt. James Cumming Forrest
Royal Scots Fusiliers"
Reading about this soldier who died in World War I, this scroll touched me… the future soldier, the current fighter within me. My duty to the United States Army to lead ahead and among my brothers and sisters was reinforced by these words. Who knows what reason this scroll was hung in a corner of the Kildonan Hall, Isle of Arran, built in 1915. It seemed like it would have been something easily missed. Such a powerful meaning and yet hung there just above the description of Mary Jane Clark.
Mary Jane Clark was an interesting character just to say the least. Her brief description mentions how she was born in Rio de Janerio, Brazil on the 1 June 1864. She was the eldest child of George Clark. The bell that hangs outside the hall was donated by her family in her memory.
Prior entering Kildonan Hall, I saw and admired the bell. As soon as I stepped into the open space I got this feeling that overcame me. I could not detect whether it was good or bad or a plain excitement. In that hall, that could easily be used to throw a small local dance while placing the band on the small stage, I felt at ease but on edge. As I looked around and I saw these two significant pieces of history in a corner.
Oddly enough both had similarities to me. My first name is Jane so it is very uncommon for me to run across anyone with the name Jane unless it is a famous fictional or real person, a dead person, a little girl, an elderly woman, or a saying of some sort. I stumbled on the little history about Mary Jane Clark who like myself was also born in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. The scroll above the description applied to the soldier aspect of me. In first reading it, it touched me. It reinforced the importance of my life and what contributions and responsibilities that will affect those I would have to lead.
These two pieces of history highlighted the three important aspects of my life that I hold dear: Who I was, who I am and who I will become. I know I will always have a place in my heart for the country of Brazil because its culture has shaped my free spirited soul. The military has another part of my heart.
In speaking to a shopkeeper in Edinburgh, Scotland, she mentioned how her nephew of almost 21 joined the British Air Force and loves it. She mentioned this after she said that she couldn’t understand how and why people kill and fight. Like similar conversations I have had before about the military, I found myself yet again unable to respond to the question of why we kill.
Scots Americans have civilians and military personal. I should have assumed I’d find myself in this position: A civilian questioning me about my future career choice and decision.
Now granted at this point of my life I have never killed a human being.
Regardless, being in Scotland has taught me that people, no matter where they are from are always going to question out of curiosity. It is all part of human communication. This trip so far has taught me, like most of my travels around the world, that people will choose to either accept you or deny you. It all has to do with how open minded someone is. I feel that the more open minded and diverse someone is. the more he or she will listen and take in what the other person presents.
“All that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom”
All and others meaning everyone and against the enemy so that the country that they, that I will fight for can live on. We create our own fate and destiny.
“Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten”
Pte. James Cumming Forrest
Royal Scots Fusiliers
This scroll in my eyes brings us all together as one unit devoted to our country as soldiers and citizens. For without the trust in our nation we no longer belong or see ourselves as a part of that nation. We then can choose to travel and seek out our happiness.