[Baltimore Sun] What’s in a name? For the Key Bridge, lots of history — good and bad | READER COMMENTARIES

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A bridge name for the ages

It is high time to retire its association with the past, and to honor our citizens, living and dead, with a bridge for the ages: The Maryland Memorial Bridge. (“Can a new Key Bridge keep the old, slave-owning name?”  April 11).

— Barbara Holdridge, Baltimore

Too much work to be done to discuss name change now

How dare civil rights groups suggest a name change for the Francis Scott Key Bridge (“Civil rights leaders call for Baltimore’s Key Bridge to be renamed for first Black congressman from Maryland,” April 8)? First of all, several victims of the bridge collapse are still unaccounted for. Second, there is a lot of clean-up happening to open up the channel so that people can start making a paycheck again. And all civil rights people care about is a name change? Seriously?

— Trixie Leigh, Reisterstown

Stop naming things after people, we’re problematic

I can understand why Black Marylanders would not want a bridge named in honor of someone who enslaved Black people (“Civil rights leaders call for Key Bridge to bear new name,” April 9, 2024). But instead of trying to find consensus on any single person or group of people to name a bridge or any state-owned property after, perhaps it’s time we stop naming things after individuals altogether. After all, we are all human and fallible. Perhaps it’s time we start naming things after ideas that we can all agree on. For instance, rather than naming the new bridge that will replace the recently collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge after Key again, we could call it the “Civil Rights Bridge” or “Baltimore Pride Bridge” or something similar. I don’t think anyone could argue with naming a bridge after the pride we have for our city.

— Sean Tully, Baltimore

Girders of the Francis Scott Key Bridge stick out of the water around the remaining structural support pier. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

Rename the Francis Scott Key Bridge, “Puente de Amor.”

Because all of the Key Bridge hard workers who lost their lives while doing essential service to benefit the many were Latinos by heritage, and because Maryland seeks to be a place of welcome and opportunity for all people, and because these men came to America hoping for a better life for themselves and out of a great love for their families and for future generations of new Americans to come, may we join together in honoring them by renaming the new future Key bridge Puente de Amor, or “Bridge of Love.”

Let us write the names of each of our fellow Marylanders lost in this tragic accident on the shining steel beams of the new bridge, interspersed with its new name, “Bridge of Love,” in every one of the many languages a Marylander speaks, so that this tragedy helps us to evolve consciously toward healing, care and respect for the dignity of all.

May there be a parallel foot pedestrian bridge established within the new construction where people and families can pay their respect, view and enjoy our extraordinary Chesapeake Bay and its port, and Underscore their devotion to be Bridge Builders in their own rights — of compassion, inclusion, and a far greater love.

This commitment would signal to the world “Maryland Strong” by its devotion to the values of caring and welcome, and constitute a tribute worthy of our collective Maryland better selves.

— Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, Owings Mills

Anthem Bridge is appropriate, patriotic and respectful

The stars and stripes of the American flag are painted on the Francis Scott Key buoy, which is bobbing up and down in the Patapsco River. It marks the spot, not far from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, where Key was inspired by the 1814 Battle of Fort McHenry to write a poem, the words of which would become the National Anthem.

This being the case, “Anthem Bridge” is an appropriate historic, patriotic, respectful, and geographically sensitive name for the new bridge once it is built.

— Mel Tansill, Catonsville

Key and his anthem deserve honor in America

The tragic accident resulting in the destruction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and loss of life has had devastating consequences, Among them is the effort by woke revisionists to not only rename the hopefully soon-to-be rebuilt bridge, but change the national anthem. Such efforts do a great injustice not only to Key but the defenders of Fort McHenry. We take for granted the Baltimore Harbor, even joking about its murky waters. There were no jokes, however, during Sept. 12-14, 1814.

British warships occupied the harbor for the purpose of providing naval gun support to invading troops for the planned occupation and destruction of Baltimore. One thing stood in its way, and that was Fort McHenry and its 1,000 soldiers commanded by Major George Armistead. The British inflicted a historic shelling on the fort but failed to either destroy the fort much less force a surrender. Faced with a costly failure, the British retreated, and Baltimore was spared a terrible fate.

The Baltimore Harbor, including  Fort McHenry, is hallowed ground. It is our Bunker Hill and Little Round Top. The tenacity and courage of Armistead and his fellow soldiers deserve to be honored and remembered. Francis Scott Key thought so as well. Inspired by the heroic actions that he observed of the defenders of Fort McHenry, Key wrote the immortal words that not only glorified those defenders but have provided inspiration to generations since then.

Can we really have a national anthem that does not pay tribute to the “land of the free and home of the brave”? Are we going to name the bridge after recent political leaders who had nothing to do with the historic events that occurred over two centuries ago?   I think not. The Star Spangled Banner deserves to be our national anthem, and its creator should continue to be appropriately honored.

— Robert C. Erlandson, Timonium

Key Bridge isn’t gone, it’s just broken; its name should stay

It’s shameful the Caucus of African American Leaders is utilizing the tragedy of the Key Bridge disaster to advance a political agenda. Not a month has passed, yet they are already denigrating an icon of American patriotism.

During the War of 1812, slave ownership was legal. Many of our founding fathers were guilty. I regret enslavement was part of American history, nevertheless, it was legal.  Therefore, it is wrong to condemn Francis Scott Key by today’s standards.

Key was an eyewitness to the nonstop, horrific British bombing of Fort McHenry, tasked with protecting the Port of Baltimore. Key was also an amateur poet and jotted down the verses that became America’s national anthem. The words were set to music at Baltimore’s Old St. Paul’s Church using the melody of an English folk song. And by the way, our city’s slogan is “Baltimore: Birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner.”

There is no reason to rename the Key Bridge since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey indicates much of the bridge’s structure is still intact under the water, nor do we need to “thoughtfully examine and publicly discuss,” the structure’s name, as The Sun’s editorial board recommends. The Key bridge is “not gone,” it is just broken. The name, Francis Scott Key Bridge should live on.

— Rosalind Nester, Baltimore    

 

 

 

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