The Royal Scots Dragoons Guards album, Spirit of the Glen was the first album recorded in an active war zone (Basra, Iraq) and you can hear that fact on the Flowers of the Forest track. One of my favorite albums and you can feel the emotions of those Cavalrymen in the music. Drum and Bugle has it's place in parade but bagpipes have stood the test of time in battlefields and civilian life. As an avid piper in Tampa Bay, I've played hundreds of events and I have seen a wide range of emotions and talked with those who have served with Scottish battalions with pipe bands, and heard them in wartime. Known many veterans and even an SAS officer who served in WWII and they all agree those pipers are crazy. I think we all have to be to some level as common side effects of the instrument is hearing loss, upper repertory illness (clean your bags guys), and a steady case of empty wallet syndrome.
Bagpipes are not for everyone, and I always say you either love'em or hate'em. Next time you hear the mournful bellows of the highland bagpipes and a piper in traditional garb, don't pretend to pop the bag or mess with the drones or the kilt, instead give the piper a smile or a head nod and maybe drop a few dollars his or her way. It's a costly instrument to maintain and don't forget the saying, "time to pay the piper!"
As much as you might not enjoy it, it could be making someone else's day. Also, as St. Patrick's Day comes, you can only play so many Irish tunes on Scottish pipes. And no, we cannot play Free Bird.