- - Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scottish voters hold the fate of the United Kingdom in their hands as they cast ballots on a referendum to become an independent state.

The question on the ballot paper is simple: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

That’s a far cry from the U.S. path to independence, declared July 4, 1776.

The brutal and bloody American Revolution began with minutemen taking the first casualties of the fight on Lexington Green in 1775, and effectively culminated when George Washington secured Charles Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown in 1781.

The American casualty death toll from the conflict is estimated to be as high as 50,000, with more likely dying from disease than combat.

It was not the end of British redcoats raising arms on American soil.

The War of 1812 saw the White House and Capitol burned, and the battle of Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

In Scotland, meanwhile, 4.2 million Scottish voters are poised to send their version of a shot heard ‘round the world. With a vote — yea or a nay.

Polls close at 10 p.m. local time. 

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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