On Saturday, May 14, with the sun high in the sky, Pride II welcomed over 150 guests to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine for a memorial ceremony honoring the 30th Anniversary of the sinking of Pride of Baltimore. Guests came to pay their respects to a ship they remember, and still hold close to their hearts.
The event began with a beautiful rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by members of the Maryland Choral Society. Guests were then treated to remarks by notable speakers that included Captain Jan Miles, the Honorable Helen Delich Bentley, Barbara Bozzuto, Dan Baker, Pride II Executive Director Rick Scott, and surviving members of the lost ship.
Jonathan Jensen, of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, was joined by two additional singers. Together, they performed the “Pride of Baltimore Ballad,” a powerful song that tells the story of the first vessel. Close to the end of the ceremony, condolences letters were read aloud. These letters were sent to Pride Inc. offices during the months following the sinking. Folks from all over the globe sent their sincerest regrets at the loss, a reminder of the many lives the ship touched. Select members of crew and staff of Pride II, all who weren’t even born when the first vessel sank, were chosen to read the letters.
When the event drew to a close, guests were invited to make their way down to the seawall, where Pride II was docked. The Maryland Choral Society performed a trio of songs that included “The Water is Wide,” “Navy Hymn,” and “America, The Beautiful.” While they sang, a wreath was brought onto Pride II and then rowed out onto the water by both surviving crew members and current Pride II crew. The wreath was dropped onto the water’s surface in a display of remembrance, a Baltimore City Fireboat and tugboat joined the ceremony by spraying water high into the sky as a tribute to the lost crew members, and Pride II fired her canons three times in memory of Pride of Baltimore.
As morning met its end, the singers finished their songs, the audience offered a final salute, and guests were invited to come aboard Pride II for deck tours. There, old friends reunited, sharing stories of the past, and new connections were made.