A memorial stone in Lanark, on the site of the house William Wallace shared with his beloved wife Marion, states; “Here stood the house of William Wallace who in 1297 first drew sword to free his native land”. This statement, though true enough, is woefully inadequate and does nothing to convey the enormous impact of the chain of events started by Wallace in Lanark, in May 1297. Wallace had drawn his sword on many occasions prior to these events. Indeed, picking fights with English soldiers wherever and whenever he found them could well have been considered the young Wallace’s hobby! But after the brutal murder of his wife Marion, William Wallace, in his grief-stricken rage, embarked on a journey destined to light a burning ambition in the hearts and minds of the Scottish people to be free from the yoke of oppression. After Marion’s death at the hands of the English, setting Scotland free gave purpose to his life! More than that, Wallace inspired the people of Scotland, nobles and commoners alike, with hope and the belief that they could succeed! And succeed they did!
There are other great Scottish heroes and some who met with greater success than Wallace. Why then is William Wallace our single greatest hero? What makes this man our greatest icon? Not simply the film “Braveheart”! A wonderful film to be sure, a film that captures the spirit and strength of the Scottish people, but the film was made because the icon existed, not to create it! "Braveheart" was made because the story of Wallace inspired Randall Wallace, Mel Gibson and others. Wallace was and remains one of the most inspirational figures of all time! Why?