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March 24, 2009

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

Posted by David Nitkin at 3:30 PM | | Comments (7)
        

Comments

Dose'nt the Senate have more important things to worry about then a song??? If this is what my tax dollars are paying for then why should I pay them. The song is a part of history and was a poem before being made a song and I think is should remain as it is. It just seems that everytime you turn around someone wants to change our history for some dumb reason!!!

Sounds as if the senator is bored with his job. We the people may have to vote him out,then he can become a songwriter.

Interesting! Sen. Miller doesn't care about saving the arts in Maryland - why would he care about a song? Maybe it is time to vote him out!

Geez in an economic downturn this sure is important!

Why do we have a state song? To make people feel proud to be Marylanders, to unite us, to inspire? Then the current one needs to be changed. It makes no more sense to retain it because "it's historical" than to keep having KKK parades, or allow husbands to beat their wives, or any of the other 'historical' things we've moved past. Our song should reflect our greatest aspirations for the FUTURE, not tie us to our less-illustrious PAST.

Proud to be a Marylander!
6th highest tax state in the state-
overtaxed, idiots in Annapolis destroying the Fleece state formerly the free state! Ethics violations left and right in Annapolis!
I will be proud of Maryland when I no longer live here!

God bless Mike Miller for stepping up to correct a 71 year old mistake, to provide lyrics all of Maryland would be proud to sing. Thank you, Senator !

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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