The flag raising question is still fluttering in Dunbar

Flags flying on John Muir House, in Dunbar.''D Williamson
Flags flying on John Muir House, in Dunbar.''D Williamson

The shared birthdays of the Queen and Dunbar-born environmentalist icon John Muir are to be marked with a special arrangement of flags next month.

After an intense international argument, the Saltire and the Union Flag look set to fly above Dunbar Town House on April 21.

Discussions took place earlier this week ahead of the date, which is both Her Majesty The Queen’s and John Muir’s birthday, as to which of the flags should fly.

Jacquie Bell, vice-chairwoman of the town’s community council, felt the group should continue to fly the Saltire and the Union Flag, which are in place at the moment.

However, it was also questioned whether the Stars and Stripes should fly, to represent where Muir spent the majority of his life.

Controversy over the flying of certain flags in the coastal town has now rumbled on in the community and abroad for a number of months.

A second flag pole was erected on Dunbar Town House last year, ahead of the opening of the John Muir Way, which coincided with the National Park advocate’s birth.

However, the Saltire was subsequently temporarily removed on Christmas Eve last year, in order to allow for the flying of the United States flag to mark 100 years since Muir’s death.

The decision to remove the Saltire instead of the Union Flag for that day attracted widespread criticism, including coverage from a Russian news agency, with nearly 100 comments posted on the community council’s website.

However, it later emerged that just one of those came from within Dunbar.

Sue Anderson, another of the town’s community councillors, has also highlighted that the Stars and Stripes flag was already flying from the John Muir Birthplace museum, which is also on the town’s High Street.

Ms Anderson has also backed the idea of both the Saltire and Union Flag remaining in place.

Councillor Will Collin, who represents the community council on the John Muir Birthplace Trust, said: “I think it is the birth recognition of John Muir.

“He was born across the road on High Street and it seems to me to make more sense to fly the Saltire than the Stars and Stripes.”

He went on to suggest that “The Stars and Stripes could fly to mark his death, as he died in the USA.”

However, he questioned whether the correct flags had been flown last month.

Dunbar Community Council intended to fly the community council coat of arms on February 8 from the Town House.

But a decision was taken to shelve the idea, which would have marked the anniversary of the granting of the burgh charter by David II on February 8, 1369.

Mr Collin highlighted that it was a Scottish burgh which existed hundreds of years before the adoption of the Union Flag.