Historic St. Mary’s City held its annual Maryland Day celebration on the museum grounds on Saturday, March 25, 2023. Over 200 guests were in attendance for the ceremony hosted by the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission.
Rear Admiral Tim Heely, USN (retired), Chairman of the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission gave opening remarks. A presentation of the colors was given by the N.A.S. Patuxent River Color Guard and St. Maries Citty Militia, a volunteer organization. The National Anthem was performed by the Southern Maryland Community Gospel Choir and St. Peter Claver Gospel Choir, who together also performed a musical selection later in the ceremony. Following the anthem was a welcoming, offered by Piscataway Tribal Chair Francis Gray. During his stirring speech, Gray spoke of “inverting the narrative” in history, instead looking at it through “Piscataway eyes” rather than a colonial lens. Lucille Walker, Executive Director of the newly named Southern Maryland National Heritage Area, gave comments showing her enthusiasm and passion for the diverse history of St. Mary’s County and its national importance. State Senator Jack Bailey bestowed three commendations to HSMC’s former Executive Director Regina Faden Ph.D. for her dedication to the museum. The first was from Maryland Governor Wes Moore, the second from the Maryland House of Delegates, and the third from the Maryland Senate. Faden took the stage for her well-deserved honors.
HSMC Maryland Heritage Scholar Henry Miller, Ph.D. announced the awarding of the museum’s highest honor, the Cross Bottony, to two individuals who have spent countless hours volunteering. Jane Kostenko and Tyler Bell took the stage, graciously thanking all those they have met and looking forward to the next generation of volunteers.
The keynote address for the afternoon was delivered by St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda Jordan, Ph.D. Her speech delved into the importance of how to tell history – how spaces in St. Mary’s County (including Historic Sotterley, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Historic St. Mary’s City) are working to ensure a fuller story is told. Dr. Jordan’s speech gained applause, as well as agreement from the crowd as she stated Maryland Day “provides the very real opportunity to reflect on and commemorate how we got here.”
The final piece of the observance was the ceremony of the flags, where students from around Maryland paraded their county flags across the front of the stage. St. Michael’s School in Ridge supplied volunteer students to fill in for those who couldn’t participate due to distance.
The podium and reception for the Cross Bottony award winners were dotted with Maryland colors, thanks to arrangements from Irvanette Hall and David’s Flowers. Reception guests were offered food thanks to the caterer Bon Appetit.
Historic St. Mary’s City would like to thank the following for their participation and assistance:
Senator Jack Bailey • Tyler Bell • Bon Appetit • David’s Flowers • Regina Faden, Ph.D. • Francis Gray, Tribal Chairman of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe • Irvanette Hall • Historic St. Mary’s City Commission • Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation • Jane Kostenko • Participants of the Flag ceremony and their caregivers • St. Mary’s College of Maryland Information Technology Department • St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan, Ph.D. • St. Michael’s School • St. Peter Claver Gospel Choir • Southern Maryland Community Gospel Choir • Lucille Walker, Executive Director of the Southern Maryland National Heritage Area •