Senate President: Time has come to change the state song
Annapolis Dispatch from The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz
The Senate president — a huge history buff — made a startling announcement during session Tuesday, the eve of “Maryland Day,” celebrating the state’s 375th birthday. Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller said the time has come to change the state song.
Breaking with his past unfailing support of keeping Maryland, My Maryland just the way it is, despite what some say are its pro-Confederate rantings, Miller told lawmakers they should at least change “a couple of stanzas” at the end.
The final stanza of James Ryder Randall’s 1861 poem, later set to the tune of O Tannenbaum and adopted in 1939 as the state song, is particularly inflammatory:
“She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb — Huzza! She spurns the Northern scum! She breathes! She burns! She’ll come! She’ll come! Maryland! My Maryland!”
“Even I agree there need to be some adjustments made,” Miller told senators in an off-the-cuff speech as session ended Tuesday afternoon.
Miller’s remarks came as his fellow senators consider a proposal by Sen. Jennie Forehand, a Montgomery County Democrat, to change the song to a more pacifist rendition.
While a Senate committee is weighing the move, a House panel has voted against similar legislation.
When Miller told senators that Wednesday is Maryland Day, Forehand rose to ask — tongue in cheek — whether they might be able to sing the state song to celebrate.
Miller shot her a look and grumbled, “Sure.” Then he added: “You can sing the last verse, senator.”
-- Julie Bykowicz