By Carla Branchalexandrianews.org
Alexandria embraced its Scottish heritage with the annual Scottish Christmas Walk. As has been the case for the past 38 years, funds raised through the many weekend events will support the programs of The Campagna Center.
There were bagpipes, kilt-clad dignitaries, military units and children. Despite the cold weather, the streets of Old Town were lined with parade watchers who who have made this Alexandria tradition part of their own holiday celebrations.
This year, as has been the case for the past six years or so, Mayor Bill Euille was joined by the Lord Provost of Dundee, Scotland, Alexandria’s Sister City. The mayor or Caen, France, another of Alexandria’s Sister Cities, also marched in the parade this year. Before the parade, Lord Provost, John Letford, and Euille sat down to discuss the impact of the struggling global economy and the importance of the Sister City relationship.
“Like everyone, we in Dundee are feeling the effects of this economy,” Letford said. “However, we have a Chief Executive who, along with our Council, has made very wise financial decisions over the years that have prepared us to deal with this crisis. I am concerned for the elderly and the poor and those who are in need of services that may have to be cut because of the lack of available funds.”
Euille agreed. “As I have said very often over the past couple of months, we are facing hard budget decisions but are better prepared to make them because of good financial decisions we have made in the past,” he said.
During his Unity Breakfast just before Thanksgiving, Euille emphasized the importance of community service. “I couldn’t agree more,” Letford said. “In Dundee, we rely heavily on our volunteers to provide services that the government cannot fund. Those volunteers are key to our getting through these very hard times,” he said.
Letford brought six high school students with him. “I am pleased that our school in Dundee and T. C. Williams seem to have formed a real relationship and hope that we will talk about exchange programs in the future. Having our students spend time at T. C. Williams is a very good start. Our twinning relationship is, after all, about the young people and giving them an opportunity to get to know people from different cultures. These relationships can only help to make this a much better world.”
The Scottish students spent Friday at T. C. Williams, joined T. C. students for pizza and sodas after school and then attended a basketball game on Friday night. On Saturday, they participated in the parade and attended various events. On Sunday, many of the students toured Washington, DC, and, on Monday morning, just before leaving for home, they toured the U. S. Capitol. T. C. students will visit Dundee in August.