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The Twelfth would like to thank William Thompson from Canada for providing this article.

From Scotland to North America

MY MEMORY of the 12th of July dates back to around 1953, when I was a wee boy, returning from our new home in the East of Scotland, to the place of my Birth in Harthill, Lanarkshire.

I remember standing with my Mother and Dad, (neither of whom were Orange) waiting as the Banners, Bands and sash clad Orangemen came into view from the marshalling area on the Mint Hill.

At that moment I felt a feeling inside my body, that from that day, to this has never left me, (and never will). I stood in amazement at the stirring sound of the Flutes and Drums, the pure magic of the fluttering Banners and the wonder of that Colour which we now hold so dear.

From that day forward I had constantly asked my Mother to allow me to join the juvenile Lodge in Bonnyrigg, (my new home) but this was not allowed. I must point out that neither she nor my Father had anything against the Order, but more the fact that they did not understand it.

My Father was from an Irish R.C. family, and had changed religion with my Mother (living in Harthill, that was a good idea). But had warned me all my life to NEVER marry a ‘Papist’, or he would not be there. I guess conversion had worked, and if you heard some of the stories ho told about them, you would understand his reasons.

Anyway, when I turned 16, my Dad came home one day and asked me if I still wanted to join the Order. I immediately accepted and joined LOL 25 Gorebridge, Midlothian.

My Granny (Wallace) from Harthill bought me my first Sash, which unfortunately over my many moves, has been lost. She also loaned me Eight Pounds to buy my first reversible 2 1/2 ring. I will always remember her saying when she gave me my Sash, ‘You won't stick it for six months’.

Well here I am 35 years later, still hanging on. I have spent countless hours reading on The Order, And British and Irish history, that I might better prepare myself for the many debates I have been involved with over the years with the R.C. community, and in some cases more importantly the moderate protestant community, and to this day still believe the Order to be one of the greatest organizations ever formed.

While being initiated into the Order in Scotland, most of my Orange life has been spent in North America, (30 years). I have walked the Twelfth in Belfast many times, and Liverpool more times than I can remember, (Liverpool being my favourite) and had the opportunity to visit the Imperial Orange Council of the World on two occasions.

My Son William, was initiated into the Order Last November 21st. at the inauguration of our Lodge, and to present him with his Sash, was one of the proudest moments of my life.

I have formed three Flute Bands, (two in Canada, and one in Scotland) Two Orange Lodges, and am P.M. of two Primary Lodges, Past C.M. and went as high as Jnr. D.G.M. of Ontario West.

I am currently W.M. and founder of the Newly formed Boyne Defenders, L.O.L. Detroit, U.S.A.

But the thing that still keeps me going is that feeling you get deep down in the pit of your stomach, and the swelling of pride in your heart, that comes with the morning of The 12th., that I am afraid if you don't understand it, and if you don't get that feeling, then I guess you never will.


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