1. U.S. Scots crown Sir Sean Connery on Tartan Day

    By David Winter on 2001-04-08

    Thanks to NJ for sending this report in!! And congrats to Sir Connery:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Veteran actor [Sir] Sean Connery, the original incarnation of James Bond on the silver screen, received an award for his services to Scotland in a colorful ceremony outside the U.S. Capitol Thursday.

    A wave of blue and white Scottish flags, coat of arms placards and multicolored tartan kilts fluttered in the breeze as American Scots gathered in the sunshine to celebrate Tartan Day.

    The American Scottish Foundation awarded Connery the William Wallace award in recognition of his public affirmation of Scotland, his financial support of its education system and film industry and his passion for the country.

    “I’m glad this is not an audition, I don’t think I’d get the part,” the sun-tanned Connery apologized before making his acceptance speech. The crowd, with a high proportion of middle-aged swooning women, laughed raucously.

    Connery, a high-profile supporter of Scotland’s national movement, said he was honored by the award and encouraged Americans to visit his homeland in spite of the foot-and-mouth epidemic currently ravaging the U.K.

    “Come this year in particular. You will find our majestic countryside open … our championship golf courses open, though not that easy, and you will find the hearts of our people open,” said the Oscar-winning actor, who lives in the Bahamas.

    At the White House, President George W. Bush marked Tartan Day by meeting Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish for 10 minutes.

    A U.S. official made clear Bush was not getting involved in Scotland’s quest for independence. “Our position on this has consistently been that this is a question for people of the U.K., which includes Scotland, to work out among themselves,” the official said.

    Reuters/Variety REUTERS