The Wallace Monument boldly cuts into the sky like the famous sword it houses, like the legendary Scottish figure it honors.

Within the Wallace Monument, inside the Hall of Heroes, rests the sword of William. Standing in front of the sword, which is kept within a glass enclosure, it’s hard not to be moved. At almost six feet in length, the weapon invokes at once brutality and regal grace. Such a blade could strike down a charging cavalryman; such a blade could belong to good and noble guardian.

The sword’s legacy has inspired poems, stories and Scottish romances. It’s also inspired movements: suffragette Ethel Moorhead smashed the case to bring attention to womens’ freedom of political expression.

Freedom – a word screamed by Mel Gibson and obnoxiously repeated by thousands of Braveheart fanatics. But a word with lasting meaning for entire groups of people. In 1297, Wallace defeated the English at Stirling Bridge and was named Guardian of Scotland. He fought for his country’s independence. In 1912, Moorhead fought for women everywhere. Today, we still fight countless struggles for human rights. And Freedom’s Sword is here as an inspiration to all.

So when you stand in front of the sword, all that sinks in. It’s hard not to be moved.

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