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PRIDE II Celebrates Maryland Day: Historic Events in Baltimore and St. Mary’s City

PRIDE II Celebrates Maryland Day:
Historic Events in Baltimore and St. Mary’s City


Pride of Baltimore II, courtesy Norbert Stager


Contact: Laura Rodini 202-669-3065 (cell)

BALTIMORE, March 10, 2016 – This month, Pride of Baltimore II, America’s Star-Spangled Ambassador, celebrates the founding of Maryland with unique events in Baltimore and Historic St. Mary’s City. Members of the media are invited to attend these events; please RSVP by emailing Laura Rodini at

On Friday, March 18, 2016, at 9:30 am, Pride II launches her sailing season and takes part in a special Maryland Day-related ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. This event is free and open to the public. On hand will be the Archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, as well as representatives from the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland, which is responsible for the creation of a wooden cross fashioned from the roots of a 600-year-old tulip poplar. The Liberty Tree cross, as it is known, will receive a special blessing from Archbishop Lori and then be placed aboard Pride II, where it will be transported from Baltimore to Historic St. Mary’s City in Southern Maryland. The journey is expected to take 17 hours.

“We’re excited for Pride II to be launching her sailing season by commemorating Maryland’s past,” says Executive Director Rick Scott. “This will be a great start to a year that also looks toward Maryland’s future, both in the state and beyond.”

The Liberty Tree cross, courtesy of Scott Watkins & Carroll Tabernacle, courtesy of HSMC

“The Liberty Tree cross is part of a trio of wooden crosses fashioned from a 600-year-old tulip poplar, that stood on the campus of St. John’s College in Annapolis. The ball and cross were made from its roots. The base for the cross was made from the Wye Oak. It was donated by the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland. The tree served as a meeting spot during the American Revolution. “The cross was made from the roots of a tree from which under its branches witnessed Lord Baltimore’s peace treaty with the Susquehannock Indians in 1652,” said Scott Watkins of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland. “In 1775 it was the rallying point for The Sons of Liberty before they demanded the burning of the Peggy Stewart and her cargo of tea in the Annapolis harbor. Washington and Lafayette met under it before marching to Yorktowne. It is a symbol of Maryland the colony and Maryland the state.”

As reported in The Baltimore Sun, the first Liberty Tree cross was presented to Pope Francis in 2015. The second cross was given to Prince Charles – and the third and final cross will be presented to St. Mary’s Chapel at Historic St. Mary’s City, where it will reside at the top of the dome for the reconstructed Carroll Family tabernacle that scholars believe was used at the chapel in the 17th century.

“The rich symbolism of a cross made from the roots of Maryland’s Liberty Tree completing the altar at the place the first roots of Liberty of Conscience were planted in the New World is truly wonderful!” says Historic St. Mary’s City Director of Research Dr. Henry Miller.

PRIDE II At Historic St. Mary’s City

St. Mary’s Chapel, courtesy of Donald Winter, Historic St. Mary’s City

Pride II will also take part in Maryland Day commemorative events at Historic St. Mary’s City beginning at 1:00pm on Saturday, March 19, 2016. The event will kick-off with a procession of the Liberty Tree cross at 12:45pm aboard Pride II, and end at St. Mary’s Chapel. Following the ceremony, guests are invited to the opening of a special exhibit within the chapel. This exhibit contains the three lead coffins that held the remains of Maryland’s founding family: Philip Calvert, his wife, Ann Wolsey Calvert, and an infant. The coffins will be visible through a glass floor so that visitors can see this extremely rare example of early Maryland history. Representatives from the Society of The Ark and The Dove will be on-hand as well as descendants of the Calvert family.

“Only five lead coffins are known to exist in North America, and all five are in St. Mary’s City,” says Maryland Historical Society President and CEO Mark B. Letzer. “We are proud to take part in this special observance, as well as mark the final resting place of these important people.”

Two key founding documents of Maryland will also be on display: Father Andrew White’s account of the voyage of the Ark and Dove in 1634 and a letter written by the first governor, Leonard Calvert. This marks the first time these documents have returned to St. Mary’s City since they were dispatched to England on the Ark in 1634. Maryland Historical Society Chief Curator, Alexandra Deutsch, will provide remarks on these documents.

There will also be a Presentation of the Flags from fourth grade students from each county in Maryland, beginning with the newest and proceeding to the oldest county. Several of the state’s leading politicians are expected to attend. All events March 19 will be free and open to the public. This includes the procession and dock tours aboard Pride II and her maritime ancestor, the Maryland Dove. It also includes the unveiling of the exhibit within the chapel.

For more information and directions to Historic St. Mary’s City, visit the Historic St. Mary’s City homepage.

About Pride of Baltimore II

For nearly four decades, Pride of Baltimore and Pride of Baltimore II have represented the people of Maryland in ports throughout the world, spreading a positive message and extending the hand of friendship globally. Since her commissioning in 1988, Pride II has traveled more than 250,000 nautical miles and visited 40 countries in 200 ports. Pride II has become one of the most well-known U.S. sailing vessels in the world, capturing the imagination of millions of people.

For more information, contact Laura Rodini at or call 202-669-3065.