Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 10:37 UK

US president hopefuls back Tartan

Pipers parade through the streets of New York [Pic: Colin Dickson]
Pipers parade through the streets of New York

The three rivals in the US presidential race have thrown their weight behind national Tartan Day in America.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Republican John McCain, have all endorsed the annual celebration of Scottish-American links.

A parade through the streets of New York will mark the culmination of a week of events.

Among those attending will be First Minister Alex Salmond and Holyrood's presiding officer Alex Fergusson.

Mr McCain, who will be the Republican candidate in the presidential elections at the end of the year, said he was "honoured" to commemorate America's longstanding ties with Scotland.

Barack Obama, who is still contesting the Democrat nomination with Senator Clinton, praised the "great contributions" Scots-Americans have made to the United States.

Hillary Clinton offered her "congratulations" on Tartan Day's 10th anniversary.

She said: "I want to extend my congratulations to the millions of Americans of Scottish descent during the 6 April celebration of National Tartan Day, which marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.

"On this day, we recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Americans of Scottish descent who have played a prominent role in the founding of this country"

Their statements of support were released by the Scottish Government.

First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed this "bi-partisan backing" which comes as New York prepares to host the annual Tartan Day parade. It is led this year by American footballer Lawrence Tynes, who is originally from Greenock.

Mr Tynes said: "Having been born in Scotland as well as being a proud American, this parade has special meaning to me and I look forward to sharing a great day with everyone."

Mr Salmond, Mr Fergusson and several other MSPs are attending.

The first minister said: "The Tartan Day Parade on 6th Avenue is always a great focal point of the celebrations and I will be delighted to represent the Scottish Government."

Saturday's 10th annual Tartan Day parade brings together pipe bands and Scottish enthusiasts.

This year's parade draws participants from Scotland, the United States, Switzerland, Canada and Pakistan.

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