Maryland, My Maryland
Three hundred seventy-six years ago on this day passengers disembarked from two small wooden ships, set foot in a new land; on that day Maryland was born.
St. Clements Island must have been a welcome destination for the voyagers of The Ark and The Dove. Travel from Cowes on the English Isle of Wight started in November the year prior for the 140 brave souls. Crossing the Atlantic in December must have been cold. They sailed first southerly to the Caribbean and then turned north before reaching their destination.
King Charles I of England had granted the colony to Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, and he sent his brother Leonard to govern in his stead. Our first governor upon arrival had to make a peace treaty with the Conroy Indians, current residents of the area, before the disembarkation of the weary passengers could occur.
Their first official act was a religious ceremony, by Jesuit Father Andrew White, giving thanks for traveling mercies and the safe landing. The timing of the day was just right as they celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation; a perfect day, because this colony was to be established so Catholics could practice their religion as they saw fit.
Today, there will be a celebration in the “Mother County” of St. Mary’s. Possibly there will be small remembrances and celebrations at other locations around the state also. But, on the whole, little recognition will be made about our shared birthday. No media stories will occur outside of St. Mary’s City. No op-ed pieces about our wonderful history. Only a little trivia perhaps on some morning talk radio.
What a shame. We live in a unique and beautiful state. You can travel in one day through many geographic regions, each with a different look, but all with perfect stand-alone beauty. In an easy day trip, you can gaze across the mountainous terrain of the Appalachians on Backbone Mountain, drive across the piedmont, and venture over the bay, through the lowlands and marshes, to the sandy shores of the Atlantic.
Maryland is also full of history. Gen. George Washington’s men, who held the line and saved the Revolution, hailed from Maryland. The Battle of Baltimore inspired our National Anthem. The geographic location of our nation’s Capitol placed us as a border state during the Civil War, which pitted brother fighting brother in a state conflicted about slavery.
We have led the way in education and technology since the founding of King William’s School in 1696 (now St. John’s College.) We are the home of the world renowned Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Naval Academy. The University of Maryland, chartered in 1854, became a land grant college in 1864. This background continues to keep Maryland as the premier state in sciences and technology.
Our Statehouse in Annapolis is the oldest State Capitol still serving in continuous legislative use. It once served as the Capitol of our nation. The most important act of government to take place in those marbled halls was George Washington resigning his commission as a military leader. That act in 1783 established that it would be civilian rule over the new nation. Rule by the people, not the military.
Our state flag is a symbol of both family and unity. Prior to the Civil War only the checkered pattern of the Calvert family coat of arms was associated with Maryland. The Crossland coat of arms containing the Bottony Cross was used as a flag for Maryland secessionists. The two family crests of George Calvert did not merge into its current form until after the war.
It is a shame that on Maryland Day 2010 our beautiful state is in the sorry economic and political state that it is. We have forgotten that our heritage was that of patriots who held the line at all costs. We have succumbed to the politics of special interests who would bankrupt our state and our country, all for a fleeing few years of power and pride.
My wish is that Maryland, my Maryland continues as the shining star in the mid-Atlantic. Hopefully it will remain a place for patriot’s pride, a place for both the remembrance and creation of historic deeds.
I’m proud to be a native of the Land of Pleasant Living. It is one of the driving forces that keeps me active in the political world…the desire to better our state fiscally, preserve our resources, preserve our heritage, and to educate others that we did not arrive here by accident.
The journey from St. Mary’s to today should be celebrated by every Marylander.
Have a joyous Maryland Day!
For your entertainment:
Verse Three – Maryland, My Maryland
Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland, My Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust, Maryland, My Maryland!
Remember Carroll's sacred trust,
Remember Howard's warlike thrust,
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!