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Maryland! My Maryland!

Today, we presented in verse the story of an on-going controversy about the state song of Maryland.

"Maryland, My Maryland," sung to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree," has been the state's official ditty since 1939. Legislators periodically propose changing the lyrics, which were written in 1861 as a call for Maryland to join the Confederacy. Later this week, the House and Senate will hear bills that propose changing the lyrics of the song to a poem written in 1894.

All this song talk got us wondering how well legislators know their official state song. First, we asked Sen. Jennie Forehand, the sponsor of a bill proposing changing the lyrics, to sing a verse of the new lyrics she'd like the General Assembly to adopt. Then we asked a few of her colleagues -- along with Gov. Martin O'Malley -- to sing as much of the current song as they could remember. A surprising number agreed to play along. Click here to hear their renditions.

It should be noted: Musical participation does not necessarily imply support or opposition for Forehand's proposal.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 1, 2009; 1:00 AM ET
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One word: "Revisionism".

Posted by: thardman | March 1, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I hope none of these folks decide to quit their day jobs and try-out for "American Idol."

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | March 1, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Can't beat Kentucky's state song, My Old Kentucky Home, whose lyrics began (until something like the 1980s):

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, the darkies are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.

Posted by: Sutter | March 1, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I love this state.

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!

Posted by: random-adam | March 1, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

A few years ago our family decided to learn the words to "Maryland, My Maryland," whereupon we discovered why the song is so seldom sung. We take strange pleasure in the ghastly lyrics and sing a loud chorus whenever we travel across the state line into Maryland. My favorite part is "Avenge the patriotic gore that flecks the street of Baltimore."

Posted by: hoganandbligh | March 1, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

No need to change it. Though anachronistic I think its a testament to our state's strange historic place as neither northern or southern but a sort of tide mark in the civil war. We were both a slave state and a part of the Union, and a place where Baltimore rose up against Union soldiers yet still managed to produce people like Harriet Tubman. It shouldn't be forgotten that the state was essentially occupied by federal forces in order to ensure that the state didn't secede which would've left Washington surrounded by the Confederacy (Federal Hill in Baltimore got its name from where Union artillery threatened the city). One of the big sticking points for Maryland staying in the Union was a promise that Marylanders would be assigned home garrison. Even more interestingly the Emancipation Proclamation specifically did not include Maryland (the state amended its constitution to abolish slavery independently of the order) due to the state's marginal loyalty to the Union.

I think the song should serve to remind us all of the country's historic fracturing and the part Maryland played in it. It also is a reminder that pre-Civil War Maryland was thought a part of the South but staying with the Union rendered it a place that doesn't fully identify either with the North or the South. One of the reasons I love my state is its unique status as a border state and the song helps to illustrate how that happened.

Posted by: nitrojunkie_20723 | March 1, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Do not change the song it was quoted from my great Aunt, all the time. I feel the song should stay as it is. No need to change it at all. Leave it alone.

Make a change on a better cause
like homeless,education, counseling ,
drug abuse,new jobs. anything but an historical song that means a lot to a lot of people here and gone.

Posted by: | March 2, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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