By Allan Mitchell
& it’s November 1939 & from Inverness to Glasgow, we come in droves (by car, by bus, by train) to answer the call of our allies. & we leave behind our loved ones (sons, daughters, wives) to set foot on foreign shores & stand & fight for future freedom. & we band together (we men, we brothers, we fathers, we sons) & march toward the coastal docks & unite the British freedom force (infantry, artillery, auxiliary). & on the pier, a regiment piper’s lament echoes & echoes into the crisp coastal air. & the off-key droning wail pulsates harshly through the woodwinds & reefs, & through the ranks like the moaning cry of a dying breath. & the piper’s bag exhales & in rhythmic velvety wisps, it pulsates & pitches & squirms to the finger march of the chanter & “Amazing Grace” heaves out of each reed pipe. & the drone of the piper marches to the drone of the men & the drone of the ship & the drone of the war an ocean away. & from the chilly waters of the Clyde, we set sail for tomorrow with whistles & waves of good luck & goodbye & the hope of knowing that tomorrow will soon become yesterday. & I gaze across the great Atlantic divide and imagine marching & fighting & weeping & dying on the battlefields & beaches of a strange and distant shore.